We are all probably familiar with the verses that talk about removing the log from your own eye before worrying about the speck in someone else’s eye. Right? Because when someone points out an area of concern in our lives, it’s a pretty quick retort to throw out there. There’s that and the often misused, “judge not, lest ye be judged.” People love the King James Version when they’re trying to convict others with the Bible, I suppose. These happen to be back-to-back in the Bible, found in Matthew 7, and I want to take a minute to look at how they actually apply to our lives. First, let’s read the verses:
““1 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.”
Judge not. You can’t judge me. Who are you to say that what I’m doing is sin? The first two statements are accurate, but that last one is a misapplication. Saying that something is a sin is not judging. It is reiterating what God has already written, and He’s also commanded us as Christians to hold each other accountable to following what He’s written, so we should slow our high and mighty roll before throwing it out inaccurately. So what does it really mean? To judge someone means to pass judgement. Get it? It’s a little redundant, but people still miss it. If I were to say, “Having sex outside of marriage is a sin,” I wouldn’t be judging anything or anyone. I’d be stating a Biblical fact. Now, if I were to say, “If you are having sex outside of marriage, God should not bless you in any way, and you should not be forgiven and get to go to Heaven,” I’d be adjudicating a sentence for your sin. That’s judging. Now I’m taking God’s place as Judge, and I am by actions asking God to hold me to the same standards of judgment I’m using. So first, remember that there’s a difference between identifying what the Bible has clearly called sin and passing judgment or condemnation for the sinner.
Now, about those specks and logs. My brother and I were recently tweeting back and forth about this, because we’re really hip and use twitter. If someone were to say to you, “Hey, you really shouldn’t be getting drunk like that,” you might be tempted to throw out, “Why don’t you worry about the log in your eye before worrying about the speck in mine?” We’ve heard it a lot, especially recently, and it rubs us the wrong way like a cat being grabbed by the tail and pet backwards straight up his back. It just bugs me. You know why? Because it is true that I need to worry about the sin in my life, but you’re not supposed to compare yourself to me. You’re supposed to emulate Jesus. So you should never let the log in my eye or anyone else’s eye keep you from pulling the speck out of yours. If someone points out a sin in my life, I would hope I’d be humble enough to bite my tongue, look at myself, and address the issue. I want to grieve my sin just like Jesus does. I want to hate my sin so much that even the specks bother me. You know why? Because if the only sins I were ever guilty of were specks, it would still require Jesus’ blood to pay my penalty and give me life in Heaven.
If we are ever to grow as Christians, we’re going to need each other to hold us accountable. Iron sharpens iron. Iron doesn’t tell iron not to judge it. It accepts the friction and grows as a result. We need to grow thicker skin and stop pretending to be offended when someone points out our sin. Let’s stop deflecting and just clean the specks and the logs out of our eyes, so we can see Jesus more clearly in our lives.