Summary: Jesus with humor tells us to watch out for the plank in our own eyes before removing the speck in our brother’s eye.
Be Righteous Not Self-Righteous
When you watch American Idol, do you sit there and criticize the singing ability of people who have made it to the finals, when you have never sung anywhere but in your shower with only God and the dog having to listen to you?
Men, do you criticize your wife’s cooking when you are too lazy to even boil an egg?
Women, do you complain about the lack of money your husband makes when there are 25 pairs of shoes collecting dust in your closet?
Kids, do you consider your parents old-fashioned and out-of-touch when they set rules and give directions and yet you failed at your one attempt to take care of the pet gold-fish and eventually hade to flush it down the toilet?
Teenagers do you find it incredible boring and silly when old people repeat the same stories over and over again, and yet you don’t see anything wrong with reciting the same stupid line from some TV show or movie over and over again?
Have you ever jumped to conclusions, or assumed something about another person before having the full facts only to feel foolish when you finally were given all of the information.
I remember when Michael was young and on the local little league team, I used to get really irritated with some of the calls made by the umpire. Though I was never one of those parents, and there were some around, who called the umpire names or yelled at him for his calls, often in my heart I would judge the skills and the integrity of the umpire. Then one day the umpire was sick and the coach recruited me to step in and umpire the game. Suddenly I had a whole different perspective stooping down behind the catcher at home plate. I remember making one terrible call, and receiving some pretty harsh criticism from a dad in the stands. I felt terrible. I had done my best, and all I could feel was condemnation from this mad father.
Maybe you have had a similar experience.
How many here have ever been judged based upon rumors and half-truths?
How many here have been judged based upon how you looked, or what you were wearing?
How many here have felt the sting of being pre-judged by someone who really didn’t know you or who didn’t have all the facts?
Now, how many of us here have ever done the same thing to someone else?
We make judgments all the time. We get mad at the person driving too slowly, without any knowledge of what has been occurring in their lives, or if they might have any physical limitations. We pre-judge people based upon what kind of house they live in, how they talk, where they are from, and so on. And all of this pre-judging is simply prejudice.
Jesus had some fairly strong words about this kind of attitude in His Sermon on the Mount. It is a familiar passage to many, including many non-believers. And it is often completely misinterpreted or misunderstood. So we need to take time today to make sure we understand what Jesus meant.
Turn with me to Matthew 7:1-6
"Stop judging others and you will not be judged, for others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are 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, ’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 from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
"Don’t give what is holy to unholy people. Don’t give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.
Our theme this morning is this:
Jesus calls us to self-examination before loving confrontation.
1. We are to guard against developing a critical spirit
2. We are to deal with our own sins first
3. We are to use wise discernment when lovingly sharing truth
Let’s look at each of these points one at a time. Look again at verses 1 and 2.
"Stop judging others and you will not be judged, for others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged.
We are to guard against developing a critical spirit
Jesus begins by saying: Don’t judge people or you will be judged. What does the word ‘judge’ mean? Is Jesus saying that we are never to make judgments of any kind? Are we just to go through life and let whatever happens to us happen? And are we to ignore when others are endangering themselves or others?