Summary: When we lay aside a critical spirit, our vision becomes clearer helping us see God’s plan for us and for those around us.

I Can See Clearly Now…

Matthew 7:1-5 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 "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? 4 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? 5 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.

Intro: A reporter was once searching for a story about the laziness that existed throughout the South, when he saw a man in his field, sitting in a chair and hoeing his weeds. This had to be the ultimate in laziness. So he rushed back to his car to start his story when he looked back a second time and what he saw changed his entire outlook. He saw that the pants legs on the farmer hung down loose -- the man had no legs. So what seemed at first to be a story of laziness turned into a story of great courage.

-Isn’t it funny how we often judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions? Bertrand Russell summed up this hypocrisy when he said, ("I am firm. You are obstinate. He’s pig-headed.) (I have reconsidered. You have changed your mind. He’s gone back on his word.")

-A mother had a son and daughter both of whom were married. When she was describing her son and daughter in law she said, "The daughter got such a wonderful husband. He lets her sleep late, insists on her going to the beauty parlor, will not let her cook, and takes her out to dinner every night."

She then said, "But I’m not so happy for my son. He married a girl who is lazy, sleeps late every morning, spends her time in the beauty parlor, will not cook and makes him take her out all the time."

-Someone wrote, “Why is it that my dirt is never as dirty as your dirt, from my perspective? My sin never seems as sinful as the sin of others either.”

-As we discuss the issue of judging others, we will be dealing primarily with the critical judgment of others. It is evaluating someone for the purpose of fault finding, rather than constructive criticism. Here is the main idea of the message today.

Prop: When we lay aside a critical spirit, our vision becomes clearer helping us see God’s plan for us and for those around us.

TS: Let’s take a look at some thoughts Jesus gave regarding judging when He taught the people in this sermon on the mount.

I. Judging comes back to haunt you (Matthew 7:1)

1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

-When Jesus said, “Do not judge,” He wasn’t saying we should never assess or size up people, but rather that we should not have a harsh, judgmental spirit. Theologian John Stott said it like this: "Jesus does not tell us to cease to be men (by suspending our critical powers which help to distinguish us from animals) but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God (by setting ourselves up as judges)." That’s what drives this overly critical attitude: a belief that I can see as God sees. I can see your heart and your motives. I can see the way you’re thinking. I know all the things that have led you to this point in your life. Jesus wants to eliminate that kind of judging from those who follow Him.

-We should not judge: (William McDonald)

1. people’s motives - cannot know why they do what they do, we can’t see inside

2. service of another believer - to His own Master he stands or falls

3. conscientious scruples about things that are morally neutral

4. outward appearances - what’s in the heart is what counts

5. harshly, critically - “a habitual fault-finder is a poor advertisement for the Christian faith” -One of Aesop’s Fables may help us with the difference between being critical and being discerning: A Lion, unable from old age and infirmities to provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by savvy or wit. He returned to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick, taking care that his sickness should be publicly known. The beasts expressed their sorrow, and came one by one to his den, where the Lion devoured them.

After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the Fox discovered the trick and presenting himself to the Lion, stood on the outside of the cave, at a respectful distance, and asked him how he was.

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