Throughout this mountainside sermon, I can see many occasions for those listening to cast an eye to their neighbor on the grass or to the religious leaders standing on the edge and silently say to themselves, “I’m glad he’s not talking about me. I bet they are squirming in their sandals.”
Comparison is a natural barrier to grace.
I think that’s why Jesus moved on to the subject of judging others after he talked about worry and how pagans “run after” food and clothes and such. I can almost see those heads turning now, as he warns them to seek first the kingdom of God. Just to make sure they get the point; he takes a breath and says:
Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.Matthew 7:1-5 CSB
With a crowd of thousands, there’s a lot of judging going on. You’ve got Pharisees judging Sadducees, Sadducees judging the crowd, those baptized by John judging those who have yet to believe, those who are among his disciples judging the religious leaders, and all around it goes.
Jesus makes it simple: You’re better off just leaving judgement to God.
The reason he can say this is because judging others always comes back to bite us. As soon as I judge another by some self-made standard, I find myself judged by the same. I think that’s what makes me laugh today at cancel culture—eventually, everyone gets canceled!
The saying holds true: Point one figure at another and three others are pointing back at you.
When we point that finger in judgement, hypocrisy hits us in the face like a beam of wood. Could Jesus have made it any plainer? If it’s so simple, why is it so hard for us to stop judging others?
- Desire for control over others.
- Thinking we have all the answers.
- Forgetting we all live under the authority of God.
- Hard hearts and minds.
- Disdain for our fellow man.
What does it take to leave judgement to God?
- Confession of sin.
- Prayer for our fellow man.
- Love for others above ourselves.
- Trust in the sovereignty of God.
Are you distracted by the specks in the eyes of others? Grab a mirror and take a long hard, prayerful look at yourself before you say something you’ll regret.
Nip judgement in the bud by His…
Grace and Peace