“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“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? 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? 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.
This is one of the most quoted passages in all of the Bible—specifically the first sentence. Unfortunately, the statement “judge not” comes within a larger context that we can’t ignore.
Jesus is clearly against those with judgmental attitudes, but he is not against judging. Don’t miss this. There are areas in our lives where we all have blind spots. These are the things that are damaging to ourselves or hurtful to others that we have either justified or are completely oblivious to. The only way I will be able to identify these things is with the help of others judging me. But the order and heart behind the judgment matters.
Look at how Jesus concludes this thought in verse 5, “…first, take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Judgment always begins with a mirror. None of us have it all together. All of us need help. Before we try to help somebody fix their issues, we must begin with our own. It’s easy to ignore our own problems by pointing out everybody else’s. Jesus would say that is a bad idea.
First, start with the truth that you need help just as much as the next person. Get help. Let others speak into your life regarding blind spots. Then, you can help others on the same journey you’ve been on from a heart of humility and love.
Simply pointing a finger and shouting, “Hey! There’s a speck in your eye!” isn’t very helpful. Neither is just running up to somebody and sticking your finger in his eye. This sort of endeavor takes a very delicate approach (and clean hands). Love is action-oriented, but it is also patient and kind. Before you go depositing digits into eye sockets, humbly and patiently earn permission.
Prayer: Father, help me to see the logs in my own eyes. Use others to speak the truth in love and, when they do, help me to listen. If, then, there is somebody you want me to help, please guide me in my approach. Help me to earn favor with them so that I may be helpful. Amen.