Do Not Judge Others
“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.
Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”
Matthew 7:1-6 NLT
My Thoughts: In today’s verses, Jesus is calling us out on the ugliness of wrongful judgment and He isn’t mincing any words!
I once judged a woman who came to church in an outfit that can only be described as risqué. (You can read that story in a previous blog from Matthew 3:4-10 https://thywordmythoughts.com/2018/08/13/matthew-34-10/ ). I wish I could say the shame of that incident put a stop to my judging, but my words and actions often reflect otherwise. Jesus sternly reminds us we have a lot of cleanup in our own lives to address before we even think about judging others:
“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 7:5
In other words, “Cecilia, you better clean up the mess in your own life before you even consider what someone else is doing!”
So why do we so recklessly and carelessly judge? The obvious reason is because we are all sinners. However, I also think it is because of a basic human frailty; we want others to like us and/or we care about what they think about us. That need is a good reminder for us to examine our own motives and conduct. What I have learned about myself is that the habits or traits I often dislike in others are habits or traits I dislike about myself. Yikes! Therefore, when I find myself about to magnify someone else’s faults what I am really doing is attempting to excuse my own.
Jesus tells us this:
“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.” Matthew 7:1-2
I don’t know about you, but the stark truth in this verse terrifies me! Jesus tells us how we judge and treat others, will be the standard by which we will be treated and judged as well! In other words, before we judge anyone we better examine ourselves first to see if we deserve the same criticism!
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3 NIV
As I was studying judgment I found this verse and the associated notes from my NIV Study Bible:
“My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight.” Proverbs 3:21
Notes: “What is the difference between sound judgment and discernment? Discernment (or discretion) is the ability God gives to many people to think and make correct choices. Sound judgment, includes discernment, but goes beyond it. It also includes the knowledge that comes from instruction, training, and discipline, and the insight that results from knowing and applying God’s truths.”
The notes point out that we can only have and use good judgment when we know and apply God’s truths. The key to battling our tendencies to judge is keeping our relationship with God close, and asking Him to open our eyes to see what might cause us to misuse judgment or discernment.
When I (personally) make that assessment, I see that I tend to lean towards judgment when I feel insecure or when I fail at something. I usually do this as an attempt to make myself feel or look better, but the result is always the opposite; I feel and look worse. Not a flattering assessment, but this truth empowers me to turn my weaknesses into strength.
To sum it up, we have to understand that part of our personal growth is an ongoing process of learning and becoming more self-confident. That cannot happen without a combination of successes and failures. What that means for us is our failures (as painful as they may be!) provide us with a great treasure of knowledge towards that personal growth. It happens when we choose not to see our failures as a negative happenstance (tempting us to judge), but rather a positive experience that promotes personal growth!
The last portion of the verses we read today is sad and heartbreaking. We all know people who refuse to take responsibility for themselves or their actions. No matter how hard we try to help or encourage them, they just want us to solve their current problems today so they can create new ones tomorrow. That’s what Jesus describes:
“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6
Sometimes we have to leave people in the hands of the Lord. We have to allow them to hit rock bottom before they are willing to take responsibility for themselves and for what they have done. Don’t fall into the trap of judgment and bring shame on yourself when you encounter someone like this, just walk away quietly. Until they are ready to repent and take ownership for their own lives and responsibilities there is nothing we can do. How do we know when someone is ready to take ownership? They exhibit it by consistent and repetitive actions; it is not a single event or flowery words or empty promises.
Closing Prayer: Father God, this lesson today was very eye-opening and convicting to me. Although I didn’t like it, there is a lot of truth I need to own and face. Father, guide my actions every day to mirror Yours and not those of a hypocrite. Open my eyes immediately to know where I must face my own mistakes and not sin by attempting to pass judgment on others. Father, thank You for Your words that guides us all to look more like You. I pray that every day I reflect compassion and reach out to understand rather than judge. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.