Judge Not I: Speck Eye
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is 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.” Matthew 7:1-5
In Matthew chapter seven Christ calls us to a level of interaction with one another that few practice. When we find ourselves in a position that calls for us to make judgments against one another, the Lord instructs us to see the other person’s fault as if it were a speck.
In the spirit of Proverbs 18:17 we should first seek to understand what has happened and to gain clarification so that we may be sure of events giving the other person a chance to clear up any miscommunication or error in our thinking or in what we have heard third party. Applying other biblical principles such as Proverbs 2:2; 3:13; 13:15; 14:29; 18:2,13,15,17; and 20:5, we should be slow in coming to conclusions and should make every attempt to be sure that we are actually dealing directly with what really occurred before we make the first step towards judgment.
Unfortunately this rarely happens.
Instead, the majority of people are convinced that they know what has happened or that the present is always like the past and that they have infallible recall and understanding. As a result they believe what they feel or think has happened or whatever someone has said about a person or event without ever seeking clarification creating two-fold misery.
First, this habit creates unnecessary tension and trouble for many times after we do get all the facts, we find out that we were wrong about the person’s motives and wrong about the events. Seeking information from first sources helps eliminate the need for wrongful accusation and confrontation since what we ‘thought’ happened is no longer accurate. Of course after we follow the biblical mandate in these areas we may find that we were correct; however, consideration to these principles ensures that when we do judge we will be in line with the truth.
We must remember that there are always three conversations/events that take place – the one you have/observe, the one the other person sees/hears, and the one that actually took place – rarely are they the same. This is why Scripture gives us a burden of two or three witnesses [Deut. 17:6; 2Cor. 13:1] when verifying an event worthy of judgment rather than just one. Singularity and alone discernment without confirmation and clarity by a multiple of parties according to the Word is a recipe for error and dishonor.
Secondly, not seeking clarification makes it extremely difficult to weed through the mountain of mental debris that collects. The longer one goes without seeking understanding by speaking to the person(s) involved, the greater the festering of hurt feelings, bitterness, anger, and disappointment. Once this refuse is allowed to ferment, few can ever break the pride barrier that is created. The result is a fractured relationship and an assurance that they will continue this sin pattern in the future. To be sure, it is a tough battle since many of us were never trained rightly in these areas as children. I know that in my own life I have worked hard to put away this type of relational albatross by seeking to understand more and presume less. It is a fight that I’m sure will linger for quite some time.
The prohibitions against wrong behavior found in Scripture exist partially so that we can see our weaknesses since God knows us better than we know ourselves and He understands how and why we will stumble and fall. He knows the troubles we will create before we can even think of them. Matthew seven is a great example of how we should live out personal wisdom and godliness. We should live as speck eyed believers who never see the planks in others. Our judgment should be slow and only after much examination. Our conclusions should never rest in our own discernment but should be tested in a multitude of counsel and through a thorough discussion with those involved rather than a one-sided context.
Planks should always be the proportional vision of our own personal offensiveness and weakness, not what we see in our neighbor’s retina.
Here are a few examination questions for your consideration:
Do you have knee-jerk reactions to family and friends or do you listen fully before you respond? Do you find that you say, “here we go again” often when dealing with others?
Do you find yourself trying to figure out why someone is doing what they do?
Do you think you know the reasons for someone’s actions even though you haven’t asked them about it?
Are you prone to email someone or write them a letter instead of speaking directly to them about a conversation or event?
Do you find that most people annoy you? Are you using the idea of a personality conflict to cover for your impatience with those less-sanctified?
How many long term friends do you have? If not many, is it always the other person who ruins the friendship? If so, have you thought that maybe you’ve not heeded Christ’s words in Matthew 7 and elsewhere thereby seeing things amiss?
I pray that the Lord will show all of us where it is that we need to direct our attention as we move forward towards the image of His greatness.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9