The last couple of days we have been discussing the complicated and seemingly contradictory instructions we get from the Bible about judging others. We saw how we are called not to judge and yet called to judge. The main element was looking at the heart, of both the judger and the judged.
As we discussed, the Bible calls us to correct our children … to pick elders and church leaders with certain character … to vote for Godly leaders … to be a third party helping settle a dispute between two brothers. So again, the permission to judge rests in the motivating engine in our heart that drives our judgment of the other person.
If our motivation is to condemn, shame, mock, belittle them … or exalt ourselves, then obviously, this is not the kind of peer judging God calls us to.
On the contrary, our motivation needs to be one of compassion, love, service, and encouragement. Trying to help someone avoid reaping the perilous fruit of the flesh that continued wrong behavior produces. Being a lighthouse or mouthpiece of God and trying to direct them to God and His Word.
Another issue in judging is our motivation for judging the other person. In today’s scripture, Jesus describes a type of hypocrisy most of us have experienced. We are quick to condemn others, deflecting from or overtly avoiding examining our own lives. Often our sins actually surpass theirs.
Jesus says that before we can help them, we need to have a look at our own lives. Are we involved in wrongdoing that might cloud our wisdom and hamper our ability to assess and help? Our sin, baggage, and issues could distort our perception of their conduct, and we might even wrongly judge them. We could then give them poor counsel as our issues bleed into our Biblical objectivity.
Not having our own house in order will also undermine our credibility to speak into their lives. Why would someone listen to or believe my assessment or judgment when I have all this sin and dysfunction, and so many blindspots in my life? What expertise or wisdom can I really share with them if I can’t even identify and address the struggles in my own life?
Looking closely at and addressing our own stuff, is a pretty good indicator of our level of humility, or lack thereof. Low humility equals high pride. Not a great attribute for speaking into another’s life with Godliness. A last point, our dysfunction and sin hinder our prayers for them as well.
Today, sit down and identify areas in your life that are broken or off-track. You know what they are. As Jesus teaches, get the plank out of your own eye. Only then will you see clearly enough to help your friends and have the credibility to speak into their lives about their problems. Have you performed an eye exam on yourself lately? Like me, you are probably overdue! Your decision, choose well.
Dear Father God, I know I am sometimes quick to judge … and to condemn. Please forgive me. Help me to examine my own life first so I can see clearly to help others and not condemn them. Help me to extend the same grace to them that You have abundantly extended to me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the best mirror for my eye exam, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
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? 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? 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.