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.
“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. (NLT)
This is one of the more misunderstood and misapplied texts in the gospels. Many seem to think that Jesus is telling us never to criticise others. So we have people uttering a rather dangerous cliché: if you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing at all.
That is not what Jesus meant. Jesus himself criticised and rebuked others. We are told in the Bible to correct a wayward person and to speak out against ungodliness. Being ‘nice’ has nothing to do with it. Each of us has to form assessments of others repeatedly and on occasions we have to verbalise them.
The clue to what Jesus is meaning is found in the second part of the passage. He warns against being blind to our own faults whilst focussing on others’ faults. He wants us to have some self-awareness and some humility if we are to criticise. Without these qualities, our criticism will not be constructive and may well do harm.
We can form judgements but we can’t finally condemn. We can form judgements but we need to be judging ourselves along the way. Remember he does give the OK to our removing the speck from another’s eye. But we can only do so if we have clear sight ourselves. Which involves awareness of our own need of grace. So be concerned for others’ specks, but be very concerned for your own logs.
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