Most of us have, and of course it’s not exactly a warm-fuzzy feeling. Worse yet, most of us have also been the one to judge others at some point. In Matthew 7, Jesus discusses judging. He directs us to the subject, then asks, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Yep, the old speck & plank, but the great news…Jesus also gives us instructions on how to avoid the plank (and the soreness that goes with it).
Let’s take a look:
1. “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4. Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. 7. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10. Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12. Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:1-12 NKJV
Before we look at the positive action steps, let’s list the three “don’t” items.
- Don’t judge v.1
- Don’t be a hypocrite v.5
- Don’t waste treasures v.6
Next, what’s the key verse in this passage? Well, anytime I see a “therefore” it’s usually a good clue – and verse 12 is our key, “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”. Verse 12 speaks of motive. It ties verses 1-11 all together, revealing a process of verses 7-11 actually facilitating avoidance of 1-6.
A. Don’t Judge
Process Part 1: Asking and receiving – if I ask the Lord for the right view of circumstances then I’ll receive clarity concerning myself and others. In light of Verse 1, I must be concerned with how I’ll ultimately be judged by Christ in following Him, and others view (or judgment) of me. You may say, “It’s not fair for others to judge me.” It’s not, but life isn’t fair, so get over it, they do. My responsibility is to be authentic when they do.
B. Don’t be a Hypocrite
Process Part 2: Seeking and finding – Seek out the precious truths of scripture and how they apply. When I begin to find the depth of what the Bible says about living life as a believer then I’m no longer content with the shallowness of immaturity. At that point, God-led introspection comes and life begins to take on a sense of maturity. Conversely, I don’t want to be hung up on introspection, becoming spiritually paralyzed. Keep moving. When the Lord reveals things, act on it. Remember, the point of verse 5 isn’t to cease “looking” at others, but to see “clearly” when doing so.
C. Don’t Waste Treasure
Process Part 3: Knocking and Opening – Proverbs 9:7-8 says to be careful when giving out correction, because done incorrectly creates enemies. Often, timing and tone are everything when handling the precious treasure of God’s truth. Don’t cheapen the gospel to a verbal equivalent of “scripture candy” or operate without discernment by dropping “scriptural bombs” on people who simply need an authentic friend. When we knock for doors to be opened, the Lord provides wonderful opportunities. Spirit led conversation is far more successful than ill-timed self-led attempts.
So keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. Over time, prayer enables discernment and discernment enables the right timing, and the right timing enables success!
Series: The Questions of Jesus – Lesson II – Matt. 7:1-12