1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Here is another passage of scripture that has proven valuable in my walk with God. Particularly meaningful has been verse 4, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
Judging others is hard not to do. And we make our judgements on scant evidence. There is something quite natural about sticking our nose in the air and looking down upon others. I suppose we need it for our self-esteem. “I must be an okay person since I don’t do what I THINK the other person is doing.”
Jesus’ prohibition was aimed at hypocritical judging. (v5) So, what is a hypocrite?
In ancient Greece, hypokritḗs referred to stage actors. Essentially, hypocrites are pretenders who feign virtues, moral or religious beliefs, or principles they don’t always possess. Their behavior conflicts with their stated value system.
Interestingly, unbelievers frequently cite hypocrisy in the church as their reason for not wanting to become Christians or attend our worship services. And if there’s one scripture they know, it’s our focus text. They may not be able to quote Chapter and verse, but they are familiar with the principle, Christians aren’t supposed to judge others.
As I have said before, Jesus has set the bar high for Christian conduct. There’s a lot expected of the children of the King. However, our beliefs and behavior should be lived through humility. Our way is the better way, but we’re not to flaunt it. It’s religion that is in-His-service and NOT in-your-face. Sincere love and compassion should trump hypocritical scorn and ridicule.
Self-examination is essential for living the Christian life. We should regularly examine our thoughts and behavior for a consistent and maturing walk with the Lord. When you keep the focus on the plank in your eye rather than the splinters in the eyes of others, you benefit. You avoid hypocrisy and you grow spiritually.
When we judge others, our behavior can be manifest in many hurtful ways: slights, gossip, unkind words, false innuendo, backbiting, shunning, ostracism, etc.
Jesus said that judging others is reciprocal. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (v2) If you don’t want to be unfairly judged, then don’t judge others.
Although we’re not to judge others, we do have to make judgements about all sorts of matters. Jesus taught, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24) There are instances where we must calculate that which is spiritually prudent. For example: in 1 Corinthians 5:9, we’re told to disassociate from “sexually immoral people…” Paul also tells us to be careful who we hang with because Satan “masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) We’re to beware of false prophets and teachers by testing “the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1)
So judgements are necessary for navigating the troubled waters of an evil world. But hypocritical judging of others has no benefit for believers or the cause of Christ.
Let’s keep the focus on the planks in our own eyes. That will be more than enough to keep us from meddling in the perceived spiritual weaknesses and deficiencies of others.
If you are struggling in a relationship and treated unfairly, check out this article: How to Fight Back God’s Way
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.