Priorities In Judgement

‘Hypocrite! First take the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye’ (Matthew 7:5).

Joshua Van Der Schyff Kfmjlaa9igu Unsplash

Judging others is such a common human fault – perhaps even more common among Christians!

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had strong words to say on the subject, painting a wonderful hyperbolic word picture to help us understand how serious this is. He visualized someone walking around with a huge log hanging out of his or her eye while trying to take a tiny speck of dust out of someone else’s. This is the person who is always finding fault and judging others, while being blissfully unaware of his own far greater fault.

We all know people like this. Sometimes we gasp imperceptibly at their audacity and self-righteous carping. Jesus calls them ‘hypocrites’, actors on the stage of time who have lost all perspective of their own weakness and sin but relish pointing out the faults of others.

But let’s turn the spotlight on ourselves, because a moment’s reflection will make us realize we all do this! The enormity of the log blinds us to our own condition.

Take a minute to do some log counting. What faults and sins are actually hanging right out of your eye? Are you falling prey to the sins God hates? Are you proud, greedy, lustful, envious, gluttonous, angry or lazy? Do you look down your nose at someone with addiction issues while yourself being controlled by evil passions and lusts? Do you judge someone involved in sport or exercise while being lazy or gluttonous? Do you pretend to be humble and godly while all the time being envious of others’ successes?  And does anger rise within you if someone dares to disagree?

Jesus says you need to deal with these FIRST before you can help anyone else.

Get the Bible out and let its pure light expose your hypocrisy.  Look in and not out. Honestly appraise your own heart’s motives, recognizing the sin that dwells there. A true sense of your own weakness will produce humility rather than pride.

Jesus is not saying that you should not point out another’s sin, but He is saying you need to deal with your own sins first: ‘FIRST take the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly.’ Once your own spiritual 20/20 vision is restored, then you can help others to deal with theirs in a spirit of self-awareness and humility. Then you won’t be a hypocrite.