What Did Jesus Mean When He Told Us Not To Judge? – Eliezer Gonzalez
Aug 29, 2016 2069
I can’t say I’ve ever done much woodwork, but I do remember getting sawdust in my eye in the workshop at school. It was excruciatingly uncomfortable!
Jesus knew the feeling; after all, he’d probably been working as a carpenter for most of his life. That’s why, when he wanted to use the illustration of something that was really annoying, he talked about a man who has a speck of sawdust in his eye.
Now along comes another man. He’s got more than a speck of sawdust in his eye, in fact, he has a whole plank of timber sticking out of his eye. Not only can’t he see past it, but it is also so unwieldy that this man comes stumbling along to the first man with the sawdust in his eye. You’d think that he’d ask for help, after all he can’t see a thing! But instead he says to the first man,
Here, “let me help you get rid of that speck of sawdust in your eye” (Matt. 7:4, NLT).
Jesus says of the man with the plank of timber in his 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 (Matt. 7:5).
Jesus tells this story right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7). In this Sermon he is laying out the kind of life that he wants us to live, and he has no small expectations! He talks about loving your enemies, forgiving those who have hurt you, and he tells us never to worry. And if that’s not difficult enough, he even says,
Be perfect… as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48).
And so, it’s good that as he comes to the end of his sermon, he puts it all into context.
Every one of us is born with timber in our eye that torments us and causes us not to see clearly. It’s called sin, and it doesn’t let us see clearly.
Part of this sawdust problem is that we naturally think that it’s the other person that’s got the problem, and we are always trying to fix up everyone else – at least in our minds. But how can we see others properly when we can’t first see ourselves the way we should?
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 (Matt. 7:1–2).
I’ve always been a very judgmental person. Perhaps we all are like that by nature, but this is something I struggle with. Judging others makes me feel better in a warped kind of way. So I am grateful for what Jesus teaches me here.
The first step towards the Gospel is not to recognise that the “world” is a sinful place, but that you are a sinner. That was the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector in Jesus’ story in Luke 18. The Pharisee was horrified at the sin in the world. But the tax collector simply prayed, “God have mercy to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
What a shock! It was the tax collector went home justified before God.
There are no first and second–class seats at Calvary. Every person who comes to Christ must do so as a penitent, and those who do so will have no time to sit in judgment on the sins of others. – Eliezer Gonzalez