I was flipping through the journal I've started keeping about the life of Jesus and I came across a few of my comments over Matthew 7:1-5. The passage's subheading in the ESV is "Judging Others." In light of all the political hoopla over the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, called by former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, I thought the passage fitting.
As I mentioned yesterday, many people were getting hot and bothered about the event--on both sides. People for it and against it had things to say, some very heated and vitriolic. And, no doubt judgments were made.
Now my intention is not to "go off" on this or throw some Bible verses at you about how judging is BAD. In fact, to not make judgments about things is nearly impossible. Rather, I want to print the passage and then give a few comments in hopes of giving a new perspective.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
I've always thought about this judgment in terms of judging sins. But don't we make so many more types of judgments? Don't we "judge" whether or not we can make it through a yellow light before it turns red? Don't we "judge" whether or not the milk is bad when we see that it's out of date? Don't we "judge" when we see someone's face is cast down and then ask them what's wrong? Don't we make all sorts of "judgments" like these ALL THE TIME?
Sure we do. So if this is the case, then maybe Jesus isn't just talking about pointing out people's sins so we can help them.
Jesus' primary point seems to be that people should be aware of themselves before seeking to help others with--well, I'll use the term "sight problems," since Jesus gives an analogy of specks and logs in the eye. We should be aware of how we "see" before we go and help others with their sight.
In other words, a key aspect of this so-called "Judging Others" passage has to do with point of view or perspective. This, of course, is why so many of our judgments are made in the first place, isn't it? Don't we make judgments of other people because they see the world differently than we do? Sure, sometimes these differences are sin issues; but sometimes they're just differences in understanding, learning, up-bringing, experience--any number of things.
I'm not trying to soft hand sin. God hates sin, judged his own son because of his people's sin. Still, we need to see that Jesus is talking about perspective and sight problems. And, whether we like it our not, part of the reason why we think other people have issues that we need to "judge," is because of our own sight problems. It may turn out that our own issue is much greater than the issue that we're judging... we just can't tell because we're seeing other people's specks through our logs.