Judging Fairly Matthew Chapter 7 1-5
Matt 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you too will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ ,when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye
Jesus is appealing to the highest ideals of the rabbis. The Jewish rabbis taught that there were six great ‘works’ in this life: studying the scriptures, visiting the sick, showing hospitality, prayer, educating children in the law, and thinking the best of others. Think of how often you have misjudged others or been misjudged by them. Our judgment of others is faulty because we do not know all the situations, background, and especially their motives -1Cor 2:11. We know what they did, but not WHY they did it. We may not know the facts they faced, or the strength of a particular temptation.
It is impossible for us to be completely impartial in our judgments. We are swayed by attraction or repulsion by certain people. The Greeks would sometimes hold difficult trials in total darkness, so the defendant could not be seen or recognized, and only the facts considered. Only one who is totally impartial has the right to judge, and since none but God is impartial, only He can make right judgments.
Jesus is teaching that no one has the right to judge or criticize another unless he is prepared to do better in the same situation. Please note that Jesus is not condemning all evaluations of whether an action is right or wrong. What He is condemning is the hypocritical evaluation of others. We are told to discipline the erring brother – 1Cor 5. That requires that an evaluation be made of actions, but it is not being made on the basis of our own thoughts, but on the comparison to God’s standard of conduct for us in His word. If we use His word, then He is judging – not us – and His judgment is just. We cannot condemn others, but we can condemn their actions when they violate the word of God. That is the duty of Christians – to apply the words of the Bible to the things we see happening around us and speak out in defense of God and His standards. We can ‘judge’ properly if we use His judgments, not our own or those of society. We are to try to help others live in harmony with God’s will by pointing out what He expects. But we must also apply those same principles and laws to our own lives. Let us examine our own lives first in the mirror of God’s word. James 1:23-25.