Summary: How do we relate to people who are outside our church group? It is easy to judge and keep away - but Jesus calls us to a different attitude. We are to be those who keep building relationships no matter what.
What comes to mind when you look at these pictures?
(Show a series of photos which would cause people to make some sort of judgement)
Ok, keep whatever thoughts you have in mind and let’s read our Scripture passage.
Read Matthew 7:1-12
That’s a crunch-time passage isn’t it.
Do not judge ... yet how many of us just made some sort of visual judgement?
Perhaps it is fair to say we find it difficult not to judge. Which make this text really important.
As we look at its importance we have to first start off by making sure we understand what this passage is talking about.
When Jesus says, Do not judge, He is not saying, “Just be gullible”, or “Accept everything and don’t be discerning”. How do we know He isn’t saying that? Well later on He says Do not give to dogs what is sacred; do not thrown your pearls to pigs. At the very least you will have to judge who is a dog and a pig ... don’t you.
When Jesus says, Do not judge, He has a specific context in mind. Earlier in the sermon Jesus says, your righteousness needs to surpass that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees loved to point and look down their long noses over their glasses and say “tut-tut” to anyone outside their group.
Look at their sinful lives.
See how hateful and wicked they are.
What filthy habits they have.
It was the Pharisee way. First you show everyone how holy you are. Then, because you are holy you have to keep away from others.
Keep away from them – this is the attitude Jesus dealing with.
Keep away from them they’re ... promiscuous.
Keep away from them they’re ... party goers.
Keep away from them they’re ... homosexuals.
Keep away from them they’re ... drug addicted.
Keep away from them they’re ... filthy rich.
Keep away from them they’re ... questionable.
Keep away from them they’re ... not like us.
The Pharisees and the Pharisaical attitude says we have judged you … you are not like us … so we Keep Away.
You are not like us. You are outside the group.
Jesus is challenging this attitude. So that is the big question in these verses.
How do we relate to those outside our group?
Jesus makes four points to help us to answer this question.
Don’t be a bad optometrist.
Have you noticed how easy it is to have 20-20 vision when it comes to everyone else’s faults ... but when it comes to our own faults we are as blind as a bat.
I am just being firm in my views ... but you are being pig-headed.
I have reconsidered my position ... but you have gone back on your word.
I have trouble controlling my emotions ... but you have anger issues.
My character sometimes gets the better of me ... you are just plain evil.
We are like eagles aren’t we. We see the smallest movements and dive down to point them out. At the same time we have a truck-load of faults that we pretend don’t exist.
That is what it means to have a plank in your own eye, while trying to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t help people with the specks in their eyes – when you have a speck in your eye it hurts. People come up to you holding their eyes open, “I’ve got a speck can you see it?”
“It is right there it feels like a boulder”.
“Yea there it is. Let me help you”.
“Thanks ... now how about we do something about the plank in your eye”.
It’s at this moment you can choose to be the hypocrite ... seeing specks but ignoring planks.
Well that is the theory – let’s focus on a few practical examples.
We fall into this plank trap when we will not forgive someone who has done something to us.
When you point your finger at others and say things like:-
You’re a liar and a cheat.
You have hurt and abused.
You broke my heart and took advantage of me.
You went back on your promises.
When you point the finger – isn’t it true that three fingers are coming back to you. Isn’t it true that in a different circumstance you have done the same to others? If you can’t offer forgiveness do you have a right to forgive yourself? Take out the plank.
We fall into this plank trap when we are not kind to others.
I hate shopping queues – in fact I hate queues in general. When I get into a queue I always compare myself to the queue next to me. You know you match yourself with the person next to you and see who gets served first. It is a mind game.