Summary: Looking at Jesus’ call not to judge others
Sawdust and Logs – Judging others Luke 6:37-42
Gladstone Baptist Church – 8/5/05
Based on Sermon by Don Jaques, “To Judge or Not to Judge” 15/2/2003, Sermon Central
A number of years back, a young and very successful executive was travelling down a suburban street in his brand new black jaguar. Suddenly a brick was thrown from the sidewalk, thumping into the side of the car.
Brakes slammed! Gears ground into reverse, and tires madly spun the Jaguar back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. The driver jumped out, grabbed the kid who had thrown the brick and pushed him up against a parked car. "What was that all about?!" he screamed. "That’s my new Jag, that brick you threw is gonna cost you a lot of money!"
"Please, mister, please .... I’m sorry! I didn’t know what else to do!" pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop!" Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around the parked car. "It’s my brother, mister," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up." Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me."
The mood was transformed in a moment as the young executive realised what had occurred. He lifted the young man into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts. He then watched as the younger brother pushed him down the sidewalk toward their home.
Unfortunately, that story is all too common. Without knowing all the facts, we all make judgments about people all the time. And what is really unfortunate, is that judgments like that are all too common in the church.
The Christian church has a bad reputation as a bunch of judgmental hypocrites don’t we. I’ve had too many conversations with people who have been hurt by the church because of the unfair judgments and condemnation they have felt. And there are way too many people out there who have vowed to never set foot in a church because they don’t want the first thing to do with such a group. That is a tragedy - a tragedy that Jesus spoke about in Luke chapter 6:37-42.
37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
39 He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41"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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ’Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Here Jesus says essentially says – how do you want to be treated? Then treat others in that way. “Do you want to be judged” “No” “Well don’t judge others”. “Do you want to be condemned?” “Of course not.” “Then don’t condemn others.” “Do you want to be forgiven” “Yes.” “then forgive others” If we want people to treat us with respect we need to treat them with respect also. What ever the measure is that we give to people, it will be returned in like kind. Treat others how you want them to treat you.
This is probably one of the most well known passages in non-Christian circles. It is used by all sorts of people who accuse Christians of being wrongly judgmental. “How dare you say my actions, my lifestyle, my choices are sinful? Didn’t Jesus say ‘do not judge’?”
How do we respond? Is this teaching of Jesus really meant to keep us from saying anything is right or wrong? Should we join our culture in buying into the new definition of “tolerance” which means accepting all opinions, thoughts, actions as equally valid? NO! But if we’re to know when it is appropriate to judge and when it is not we will have to lift our focus from just this passage to see the bigger picture of the New Testament’s teaching on this subject. Only then will we be able to confidently apply Jesus’ teaching correctly.