Summary: At the very heart of hypocrisy is the abiity to spot a speck in another person's eye while being blind to the log in one's own eye.
This is an amazing passage of scripture… it is most often quoted by those who do not follow Christ and directed at those who do follow Christ. Hypocrisy is the number one sin Christians are accused of doing.
Title: Big Specks and Little Logs (The idea is that we tend to play up the sins of others while downplaying our own.)
Text: Matthew 7:1-6
Thesis: At the very heart of hypocrisy is the ability to spot a speck in another person’s eye while being blind to the log in one’s own eye.
This morning I would like to begin with a short clip from Les Miserable’s. It is the scene where Fantine is fired from her menial job when her employer discovers she has had a child out of wedlock.
WingClip: Child out of wedlock (wingclips.com, Child out of wedlock)
Judgmental people are not pretty are they?
Jesus has something to say about the critical and judgmental eye.
I. The Critical Eye
Do not judge others… Matthew 7:1-2
When we speak of the word “judge” as a noun we think of a person who is in a position to render judgments. If Jesus was spoken the word “krites” he would have been speaking of a person who has the power to render judgments. But the word used in our text is the verb form for the word judge which is “krino.” In our text the word “judge” means to make a determination or pronounce judgment or assume the office of a judge in condemning someone. It can also simply mean to form an opinion.
Here in the Denver Metro area we are following the proceedings in two high profile trials. One is for Austin Sigg who has been charged with the murder in the Jessica Ridgeway and for the assault of a runner. James Holmes has been charged with 142 counts of various crimes including 24 first degree murder charges.
In these trials a jury will determine guilt and the judge will render a judgment. The judge will execute justice or mete out punishment for their crimes. When you krino / judge you become krites / a judge.
Meanwhile, many of us have also passed judgment. We may not be “krites” or judges but we have “krinos” or passed judgment. We pass judgment when we say things like, “He’s crazy.” Or “He’s a deviate.” Or “He must be the product of a poor home environment.” “What kind of people could raise a child like that?”
At one extreme Jesus is commanding those who are his follows to refrain from condemning others or passing judgment and at other, at the very least, do not be quick to form opinions about others. In other words be neither condemning nor critical of others.
Jesus is not talking about judging in a court room, he is talking about being unkind and unloving and hasty in making judgment about others. He is talking about being holier than thou. He is talking about feeding the rumor mill when we don’t know all the facts.
I read a story about a man who had a manufacturing business. One day as he walked through the plant he saw a young man leaning against a pallet of packing crates doing nothing. The business man approached him and angrily asked him how much money he made a week. The young man said, “I clear about $300 a week.” The business man then pulled out his wallet, pealed out three one hundred dollar bills, handed them to the young man and said, “Here’s a week’s pay. Now get out of here and never come back.” The young man skedaddled as the business owner asked the warehouse manager, “How long has that guy been working in our plant?” The manager replied, “He doesn’t work here. He was just delivering a package.” That kind of judging is called jumping to conclusions about the character of another person.
There is certain arrogance about a self-righteous person which makes him or her think they have a right to pass judgment about and censure others without any sense of restraint.
The prime biblical example is found in Luke 18:9-14. “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other a despised tax-collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer. ‘I thank you God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else…’ While the tax-collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead he beat his chest in sorrow saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’” Jesus went on to say, “I tell you this sinner, not the Pharisee returned home justified before God.”
On another occasion when he was addressing the picayune ways of some self-righteous Pharisees he said, “You hypocrites! You ignore the more important aspects of the law like, justice, mercy and faith. You carefully strain your food and water so you will not accidently swallow a gnat, but instead you swallow a camel.” Matthew 23:24 In their efforts to avoid sin and guilt they swallow the camel of judging others. The camel is being self-righteousness and having a critical spirit.