Who Are You To Judge

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 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? 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? 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.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. -Matthew 7:1–6

Jesus is clearly not forbidding all judgements in this passage. In verse 6 he commands his followers to discern between the dog and the non-dog, the pig and the non-pig, the holy and un-holy. Jesus is forbidding both the judgmental and the naive undiscerning person.

A year or so after my wife and I became Christians, we took a road trip to Chicago. We had been swallowing up all the sermons we could get our hands on from James McDonald and decided to head over and worship at his church for a weekend.

Up to this point in our Christian walk, I had been telling Karie to stop being so judgmental. Soon after she became a Christian, she started making all these judgments between true and false. She would talk of the true and false Christian, the true and false teacher, and the true and false Church. It drove me nuts! I was not given the gift of discernment that she received at conversion and so it brought a bit of tension between us. I thought she was being judgmental, she thought I was naive.

While we were perusing the bookstore at James McDonald’s church, my eye landed on a book entitled ”Who Are You To Judge,” by Erwin Lutzer. I held up the book to my wife and told her she needed to read this. I purchased the book and her and I went back to the hotel room to read. We took turns reading the book out loud and finished hours later. While we worked through the book together, I realized that the book was written to show the importance of making good and discerning judgments. I saw that a failure to make distinctions between good and evil, between true and false, and between wise and foolish, was itself wrong.

A week or so later I spent some time searching the Bible for the phrases “false teacher, false prophet,” and the like. I realized that the Scriptures were filled with such terms and Jesus himself demanded of me that I stop being naive and pursue wisdom and discernment. Discernment does not come naturally to me like it does to my beloved wife. But ever since my above mentioned Bible study, I have prayed every day for wisdom and discernment.

Christians, like anyone else, can easily run around trying to take the specks out of other peoples eyes. The problem comes when the eye of the Christian has a 2×4 sticking out of their own eye. If they cannot see clearly enough to take the log out of their own eye, they have no business seeking to remove specks from other peoples eye. Jesus says the person who does this is a hypocrite! He then commands the hypocrite to take the log out of his own eye. And if he takes the log out of his own eye, he “will see clearly to be able to take the speck out of another person’s eye.” Jesus doesn’t want any of his followers to have wood in their eyes; whether it be a log or a speck. His desire is for us all to see clearly!

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