Something to think about while we’re sitting at home.

We want grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window!

Judging Others

“[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

I know that this sermon title is a bit long, but that is the way that I heard it.  But then again this passage of scripture that we draw our text from is a part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  Which is arguably one of the longest sermons or lessons that Jesus spoke at one particular time.  And to be completely honest this morning, this sermon title and topic is not an original thought.  I heard it in a sermon some time ago, and thought to myself that will preach.  As a matter of fact, that happens quite often with me.  

I will hear something, and think to myself that will preach 

I will see something, and think to myself, that will preach.  

Sometimes when I am in my devotions, I’ll read something, and think that will preach.  

A few weeks ago when we were having our ministers meeting I said something, and then I said, that will preach.  So I paused and wrote a few notes down.

And then there are the times when God specifically tells me, you are going to preach this or that!  

But no matter how the message comes to me I believe with all my heart that it is the Lord giving the message to me.  With that being said, we want to have grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window.  In other words, we want God and everyone else to show us grace when we mess up.  

To show us grace when we fall

To show us grace when we make mistake 

To show us grace when we are in the wrong.

To show us grace when we fail

To show us grace for our shortcomings 

To show us grace for our sins 

But when our brothers and sisters are in the wrong we want to judge them unfairly and send them straight to hell.  

That is why we are going to talk about judging others this morning, and what that looks like in the life of the believer.  

This is just one of the things I want us to think about while we are at home.  

One of the things I want us to consider while we are quarantined.  One of the things I want us to contemplate while we are on lock down.  

That way when we come back together again this issue will be dealt with so we won’t have to be bothered with it, and we can do what we need to do!  This issue of judging others, and how quick we are to point out others’ faults without even acknowledging the fact that we have faults of our own can be a real big problem.  I believe that it is called being a hypocrite, and this is exactly what Jesus was talking about in the text today.  Lets take a look.

Judging Others

“[a]Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you. Why do you look at the [insignificant] speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice and acknowledge the [egregious] log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me get the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

The Footnotes of the Holman Christian Standard Bible explain…

  • Matthew 7:1 This is not a prohibition of judgment, nor is it a command to stop using godly wisdom, common sense, and moral courage together with God’s written word to discern right from wrong, to distinguish between morality and immorality, and to judge doctrinal truth. There are many judgments that are not only legitimate, but are commanded (cf John 7:24; 1 Cor 5:5, 12; Gal 1:8, 9; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 10); however, you cannot judge another if you are committing the same type of sin.

In other words, Jesus was not condemning all judgement,  he was condemning hypocritical judgment.  There were times when Jesus commanded believers to use discernment or judgement when viewing the actions of others, as he did a few verses later in Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravaging wolves.  That is a judgment call or discernment at its best.  Jesus also warns that the harsh standard  that you use to judge others, God will use to judge you.  He does not want us being hypocrites.  The word hypocrite is rooted in the Greek word hypokrites, which means “stage actor, pretender, dissembler.” So think of a hypocrite as a person who pretends to be a certain way, but really acts and believes the total opposite.  So we have to be careful with judging others hypocritically.  I believe that judgement and/or judging others hypocritically is similar to what a bully does.  

You see normally a bully puts others down, roasts others, talks about others, make others feel bad because they do not feel good about themselves.  

They put others down in order to lift themselves up.  

They tear others down in order to build themselves up.  

This is exactly what the people Jesus was talking about were doing.  

They were judging others to make themselves feel good.  

They were judging others to build themselves up.  

They were not trying to help anybody but themselves.  

And you all know people that do this.  As a matter of fact, you may be guilty of doing it yourself.  

They say things like, I may lie, but at least I don’t steal.  

They say things like, I may cheat on my taxes, but I don’t cheat on my spouse.  

I may do this, but at least I don’t do that.  

I may do that, but at least I don’t do this.  

That is what Jesus was saying when he said how are you going to tell someone to take the speck out of their eye when you have a plank in your own eye.  How are you constantly pointing out the mistakes in others with out acknowledging  your own mistakes.  We all know people like this and they drive us absolutely crazy and we just want to tell them to shut up,  but what if you are the person that needs to shut up?  I have to be honest this morning, I have been guilty of this myself on more than one occasion, and if you are honest this morning you have to admit that you have been guilty of this as well.  But I have good news.  I just don’t want to point out a problem.  I want to offer some solutions to fix the problem.  So here is the relevant question.  How can we stop looking in the mirror wanting grace, but judging others when we look out the mirror?  Too wordy?  How about this?  How can we stop hypocritical judgement?  I am so glad that you asked.  Here are three things that we can do to stop the hypocritical judgement.

First, we must examine ourselves,  it is right there in verse 5, Jesus says, you hypocrite first get the log out of your own eye… you have to examine yourself to get the log out.  

You have to take a long look in the mirror.  

You have to evaluate yourself.  

You have to give yourself a check up.  

Just like women and men have to examine their bodies to check for lumps.  

We have to examine ourselves to check for logs.  

We have to examine our lives for sin.  

Sin we don’t want to see.  

Sin we don’t want to admit that we have.  

Sin that is causing us to be hypocrites.  

We do this in the following three ways.

First we must explore ourselves.  

We have to go beyond the surface and look into our hearts.  

We have to do more than acknowledge the sin.  

We need to figure out the cause of the sin.  

Is it a learned behavior?  

Is it something that we’ve seen over the years and just thought that it was okay?  

Is it a generational curse?  

Do we do it because our daddy did it?  

We have to explore ourselves.

First we must explore ourselves, secondly was must excavate ourselves.  Excavate means to form by hollowing out.  To remove by scooping or digging out.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we have to remove the sin.  We have to ask him to take it way.  This is something that we cannot do on our own.  If we could do it on our own there would be no need for salvation.  There would be no need for a Jesus.  But that is not the case.  I don’t know about you but I need salvation.  I don’t know about you but I need Jesus.  I need the oh I need the. Every hour I need the. Bless me know my savior.  I come to the.

First we must explore ourselves.  Secondly we need to excavate ourselves.  Thirdly we need to exfoliate ourselves.  Exfoliating means to cause a surface to shed material in scales or layers.  It means to smooth things out.  To take away the rough edges.  And how many of you can admit today that because of the sin in your life you are a little rough around the edges.  Well when you examine yourself,  you can explore yourself, which allows you to excavate yourself, and then you can exfoliate yourself. The Holy Spirt can and will smooth out the rough edges of your life.

First we examine ourselves,  secondly we expose ourselves.  We make ourselves vulnerable.  Now you cannot share everything with everybody,  but I do believe in the power of transparency.  Something our politicians struggle with at times.  Why do you think your testimony has so much power.  Because people see that the struggle is real, that you came out of it.  Which gives them hope that they can come out of it too.  I know it seems scary but we need to expose ourselves.  We expose ourselves in the following three ways.

First we expose ourselves by explaining.  

We explain that we are sinners that cannot save ourselves.  

We explain that we are not perfect.  

We explain that we make mistakes. 

We explain that we mess up.  

We explain that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  We explain that we have been through it too.

First we expose ourselves by explaining, secondly we expose ourselves by expressing.  I know these two points sound the same, but they are different.  Explaining is telling the story.  Expressing is sharing with your tone, body language, facial expressions, and actions what the story means to you.  I just got a vision of the clear eyes guy talking about red and dry eyes in is bland and boring voice. “These are dry eyes”!  He is explaining what the drops can do for dry eyes.  There is no expression whatsoever.  But as we expose ourselves we must express it.  People should know how we feel when we expose ourselves. That will give them a better understanding of our situation and their ability to relate to our story.

First we expose ourselves by explaining.  Secondly we expose ourselves by expressing.  Thirdly we expose ourselves by expecting.  We expect more out of ourselves because hopefully we have learned from our mistakes.  You see I have personal philosophy about expectations.  I believe that people will do exactly what you expect them to do, and this same philosophy applies to ourselves.  You or I will do exactly what we expect ourselves to do.  Let me show you what I mean.

If you expect to lay around all day, you’re going to lay around all day

If you expect to do nothing but watch TV, you’re going to do nothing but watch TV

If you expect to exercise, you’re going to exercise 

If you expect to eat right, you’re going to eat right

If you expect to live right, you’re going to live right

If you expect to pull the plank out of your eye to get yourself right before you address the speck in your brother’s eye, you will pull the the plank out of your eye before you address the speck in your brother’s eye.  Its all about what you expect yourself to do, because I believe that you will hold yourself accountable by your expectations.

You see the first two points were about how we deal with our hypocritical judgement, but the last point is about how we deal with our brother and our sister once we take care of our own issues.  That’s why verse five says, You hypocrite (play-actor, pretender), first get the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

It is really difficult for you, me, or anyone to point out the faults in others when we are unable to point out and deal with our own faults.  We must remove the plank out of our own eye, before we can help anyone else remove the speck out of there eye.  We cannot be hypocritical judges.  This is what Jesus was talking about.  So once we remove our own plank then we can help others, and this is how we do it.

We extricate others, extricate means to free someone or something from a constraint or difficultly.  Once we have freed ourselves, it is our responsibility to help free others.  It is our job to let our brothers and sisters know when they are in the wrong, and we must do so in love.  We do so because we love them.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I am messing up.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I make a mistake.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I’ve fallen short.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I offend you.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I’ve gone too far.  

If you really love me, you will tell me when I hurt your feelings.  

If you really love me you will extricate me.  And we do this in three ways.

First we extricate others by helping them extract the issue that they are dealing with, the speck in their eye.  Sometimes people do not know that they have a speck in their eye.  They don’t know that they are doing something that they should not be doing.  Its is like when you see something on someone’s face or hanging from their nose and you let them know so they can clean themselves up.  Please don’t call yourself my friend if you’re not willing to tell me when there is something on my face or hanging from my nose.  A real friend or brother or sister in the Lord will let you know in love that you have some area in your life that you need to be extricated from in your life and they will assist you by helping extract those issues.

And once those issues are extracted we extricate others by helping them expel the speck and or the issue.  You see the extracting is bringing it to the surface, making the person aware of the speck or the issue.  Once it has been extracted it needs to be expelled.   Isn’t that what they do with students in school when they don’t want to follow the rules and they been given chance after chance after chance.  They are expelled.  I always loved that scene in the movie Lean on Me…  some people have been dealing with the same issues for years and those issues need to be expelled 

The same stumbling block that needs to be expelled

The same habit

The same addiction

The same lie

The same action

The same thought

The same altercation 

The same excuses

The same setbacks

The same detours

And they need to be expelled and we can assist them with that.

First we extricate others by helping them extract their speck.  Secondly we extricate others by helping them expel their speck.  Thirdly we extricate others by helping them exemplify the fact that God loves us, forgives us, and uses us in spite of our speck. Here is where the rubber meets the road.  

So many people think because they have specks that they can’t be loved and used of God.  

So many people think because they have planks that they can’t be loved and used of God.  

So many people think just because they have issues they can’t be loved and used of God.  

Let me make it plain.  

So many people think because they have sin they can’t be loved and used by God.  

But that is not the case.  God loves and can use anyone he chooses to love and use.  

It does not matter how imperfect the package.  

It does not matter how damaged the package.

It does not matter how jacked up the package.  

God desires to use each and everyone of us and we can be help others exemplify this fact once we extricate them and help them extract and expel the specks, planks, and issues of their lives.

We want grace when we look in the mirror, but cast judgement when we look out the window.  But we can get over this issue if we examine ourselves, expose ourselves, and extricate others. Just something to think about while we’re sitting at home during this quarantine.  

Let’s come back better than we were before this all started.  

Let’s pray that God will relieve us of our hypocritical judgmental attitudes and actions.  

Let’s be the women and men that God has called us to be.

Here it is, let’s be the church that God has called us to be.

Now give God a hand clap of praise.


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