Matthew 7:1-5 – “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye!”
The one verse of the Bible most non-Christians have memorized is Matthew 7:1, ‘do not judge.’ Of course, they would then have to admit that they are making judgments themselves all the time. They judge Christians and Christianity as false for beginners. They make judgments every day in terms of how they are doing in relationships, how others are doing in relationships, and in general performance with things such as work. So, what is Jesus getting at with: ‘do not judge?’
A lot of people make judgments to make themselves feel better. They do not inspect another’s life to see how they can help; they inspect to see how they are superior and the other inferior. Jesus is teaching us here that before we look down on someone for their weaknesses and shortcomings, we’d better remember all the ways we fall short of Jesus’ standards of righteousness and how He still loved us and died for us while we were yet sinning against Him. Jesus judges us to help us. He comes to serve us. We often judge – then rather than seeking to serve and help graciously, we avoid and we chatter and we slander and we cut out.
As Jesus followers, we are only to inspect others from His heart of love. We judge to help and serve. First we are to bring Jesus our logs and our messes for Him to cleanse, forgive, and clean up in our lives. After that we are then in a position to humbly and gently serve others from the grace we have received. Until we have come out of denial of our sin and had Jesus deal with us, we are in no position to try to take out any specks from others’ eyes. Jesus is so strong on this point that he says in V. 2, every self-righteous, smug judgment we make of others, we’re heaping up onto our own heads in God’s judgment of us.
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for your merciful judgment towards us, having died for our sins so that you no longer would have to hold our sin against us. Holy Spirit, help us to believe this good news regarding our own sin so that we can extend this same grace to those around us. We pray it in Jesus’ name, Amen!