I’ve heard it said that the Bible is the most perfect mirror. When we look into it, see ourselves in it, it shows us exactly as we are. It shows our good qualities and areas that we are excellent in and execute beautifully. It also shows our faults and blemishes, our sins and what we need to work on. It shows us exactly how we are.
The truth of how we are can be difficult to deal with, especially if one isn’t a very self-aware person. So when we find something that makes us feel justified and we think might exist to do so, we use it as a defense. It’s understandable.
But using “judge not” in such a way doesn’t stand because the full context of the scripture doesn’t support it.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1-2, NLT)
True, in my experiences, down to the last letter. And scripture worthy of quoting. But let’s keep reading.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (Matthew 7:3-6, NLT)
Jesus isn’t providing a defense for our sins here. He is calling us to each get right and then help others instead of judging them for being in the same state we’ve all been in before.
Sin is sin. Little sin, big sin, one sin, living in sin – it doesn’t matter; the key word is “sin.” All that matters is if there is any sin, and regardless of how few or how many sins we find ourselves committing, regardless of how subtle or glaringly obvious our dark spots are, if we have sin, we hurt God. Sin is a great equalizer in that whenever we do it, and all of us do it, our playing field as far as God’s concerned is absolutely even.
If I have sin in my life, it is unfair and unloving for me to make a big deal out of any sin you have in your life. Jesus calls me to rid myself of my sin and then lovingly help you get rid of yours.
To be clear, there’s a difference between judging someone and giving him or her godly advice or assistance. Judgment entails feelings of inferiority, loneliness, and bitterness. Godly advice and a true desire to help comes with feelings of love and hope. If our hearts are where they should be, the person we’re helping shouldn’t feel judged.
This scripture, like most others, is one that’s not to point at others, but rather one to point back at ourselves.
And that whole bit about holy and unholy, pearls and pigs? It’s harder to decipher, but here’s what I glean from it: don’t waste your effort and wisdom on someone who simply doesn’t want it. I’ve been on both ends of this, both thrower of pearls and trampling pig, and no one wins. People get upset. Ideals are presented and lovely words and nice sentiments fall on barred ear drums. Intentions and relationships stand the potential to be questioned, and friends can even fall away from each other. It’s best to reserve spiritual assistance until it is seemingly sought and to love and respect the person even if he or she doesn’t want your insight or help.
Judgement is a very circular thing. If we give it, we are sure to get it. It is not a sign of love. It is not our job or our place. We’ve all been there, and were it not for the unbounded grace of God, we would still be there. Removing my log doesn’t give the right to condemn my fellow man for the speck in his or her eye; it simply gives me the perspective to really help them sort it all out. This scripture doesn’t exist to justify my log or my speck. It exists as a call to love, to always love
By Carrie Prevette