“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Imagine for a moment that this statement wasn’t made by Jesus. Imagine you read it in a leadership book or something. What would you think of it then? Sometimes when we read the teachings of Jesus we assume he is always talking about eternal things. If someone else were to say the same thing we would evaluate its significance for everyday life. It is a shame that we relegate Jesus’ teaching because most of his words are about how to live life today. If we think he is always talking about some far away future it is so much harder to hear, apply, and benefit from his teaching.
So why is Jesus telling us not to judge others? If we don’t make the mistake of thinking he is solely referring to eternal judgment, we might read it differently. He is saying, if you are a jerk (judgy) to others they are more likely to be a jerk back to you. Isn’t that really how the world works? It’s really hard to judge someone who is really nice, isn’t it? If we hold others to a really high standard they expect us to meet or exceed that same standard.
Jesus gives us another reason why we shouldn’t judge and it’s equally helpful. We all have something in our lives that is deserving of judgment. That is what He is talking about when he gives the illustration of a speck in our brothers eye and a plank in ours. We shouldn’t judge because if we do, we are being a hypocrite. If we are honest, we all deserve a little judgement.
Finally, Jesus tells us not to judge others because it isn’t helpful. It’s like casting pearls before pigs. What is a pig going to do with a pearl? It’s not helpful at all. Judgment has a way of throwing up someone’s defense, or worse, it causes them to attack you back. In the end it simply doesn’t accomplish anything good.
Look back at the three reasons why followers of Jesus are not to judge. Which one is most convicting to you? Take a moment and ask God to give you his eyes for the people around you. Ask him to give you eyes of mercy rather than of judgement.
By Aaron Bjorklund