“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." Matthew 7:1-5 (NLT)
There seems to be an awful lot of talk about "judging/not judging" going on these days. Unfortunately most of the people wielding this Biblical reference have only a partial view of what this passage is really saying. No one enjoys being judged. You know that moment when accusations fly and you feel backed into a corner? Yuk, no wonder most of us respond like a caged animal! However, a little bit of judgement or correction can actually be a good thing. Here in Matthew, Jesus is not condemning the judgement of another person. He never said, "Stop Judging other people, you have no right!" Rather, he's making sure that if you are going to judge, correct or exhort someone else you know the proper way to do it. What is that proper way? Well for those so bold to take on this task... here goes.
1. Take a Good Look at Yourself: The "judger" in this passage wasn't that wise. He neglected to examine himself before he opened his mouth. I'm not sure how you can really see with a massive piece of firewood blocking your vision but apparently this didn't matter to him. No wonder Jesus calls him hypocrite! Jesus is telling us to bring our personal sins and inconsistencies to God first for forgiveness and cleansing. Whether we correct people or not, as Christians we have a responsibility to daily keep a clean slate with Him. Jesus loves to forgive, we need only ask. And don't forget, whatever standard I use in dealing with others, that will be the same standard used on me..by both man AND God! Ouch!
2. Make Sure Your Motivation is Love: Authentic care and concern for others should be our only motivation. Please notice that the character in question here is called a "Friend" and this is how they should be treated. If we come at people attempting to start a fight, proving our point or trying to win an argument, then we have the wrong intentions and we're not displaying the heart of our Lord. The "speck" in their eye could be small but it may have the potential to ruin their eye site. If we really love people and see them struggling with some life issue or vice, it would be very unloving of us just to ignore them. True love speaks up and offers help to people, even though they may not like it.
3. Prepare to be Transparent: So if you've examined yourself...double checked your motivation... and still decide to open your mouth and exhort someone, please be prepared to look into a mirror. When we speak to people about Jesus and the things of His Kingdom, we better have a clean slate ourselves. Notice in this passage that a LOG is much, much larger than a SPECK! Had the "judger" not had that big hunkin' log in his eye, he would have been able to better help his friend. Who knows, maybe the friend would have listened a little easier? However, because he spoke too soon, his sin was pitifully pointed out and he lost credibility. I'm not saying that one has to be perfect, that's not humanly possible, but I am saying that it takes an open and honest heart...honest with God and yourself. Psalm 24 says, "Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Savior."
My former Pastor, Steve Mays, would always tell me..."Kevin, Purity is Power!" Ya see if I have a clean slate with God and I'm not living a lifestyle that contradicts what He's written in the Bible, then I'll have authority to speak into other peoples lives. Please hear me, none of this is based on our own efforts or righteousness and it's not a free pass to go around "sniffing out" sin. Most of the time it's very unpleasant to even start this kind of conversation. Jesus didn't give His life so that we could get up in peoples faces. He died and rose again to defeat the lies of the devil and to make us acceptable before God. Jesus forgives...We respond. Unfortunately, many of us in the church judge first and fail to examine ourselves and this puts a bad taste in peoples mouths. SO, what's the correct response to those who have specks, logs, trees or National Parks in their eyes? First take a good, long look in the mirror and then speak the Truth in Love.