Don’t judge others before you first look at yourself
Jesus has some words of warning for those of us who are quick to point out the sin in other people.
I read a story recently about a lady called Michelle. She and her husband were taking a leisurely drive through the woods when, all of a sudden, a 20 centimetre-long tree branch crashed through the windscreen and through her neck. She was literally skewed, impaled by this massive hunk of a blue spruce tree limb, right through her neck and out the back of her shoulder. Incredibly, Michelle survived the ordeal!
You can imagine how dangerous it would be to have a hunk of wood rammed right through your neck! But Jesus says there is something even more dangerous than having a branch through your neck; it is having a plank in your eye.
Be careful of judging others
In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus talks about the danger of being judgmental towards others. It is so easy for us to be hyper-critical and hugely condemning of others. We find it so easy to see everybody else's failings and weaknesses, but we find it a lot harder to see the sin within ourselves. This means that we can easily fall into the trap of becoming hypocrites. And when you fall into Jesus' category of "hypocrite", you are in grave danger.
Jesus commands us to remove the plank from our own eye first so that we can see more clearly, before we attempt any sawdust removal from anyone else's eye (v.5). There's two big lessons here:
- Until you are committed to cutting sin out of our own lives, you need to stop being judgmental towards others.
- Until you are committed to addressing the major problems (the planks) you have in your life, you should not try to correct the minor problems (the specks of sawdust) in other peoples' lives.
Don't be a hypocrite! Ask God to search your heart and show you where you need to change to become more like Jesus. Only then, will you be able to truly see what is going on in other people. Only then will you be able to serve them by graciously and lovingly helping them remove the specks of sawdust from their eyes.
Take a long, hard look at yourself first, before you make any judgment on others. Otherwise, you are likely to become one massive pain in the neck!