Fact Check: A Command, a Charade, and a Cure (Matthew 7:1-6)
Fact Check: A Command, a Charade, and a Cure (Matthew 7:1-6)
At first glance, the command not to judge comes out of the left field. Jesus, in the middle of his most famous sermons, overlooking the most scenic view in all of the western shores of Galilee, delivers an assessment of those who live to assess others.
However, this is not out of place. Every core tenant of the Sermon can be divided into two categories: how God treats you (ask, seek, knock) and how you should treat others.
Take-Home: These two ideologies are inseparable for the Christian: how the Lord treats you changes how you treat others.
A Command (7:1-2) The command is straightforward and strategic and remains popular in modern culture even to this day. Do not judge so that you won’t be judged.
When uttered from the lips of culture, it goes like this, “no one has the ability or the right to judge me.” Therefore, no one can tell me how to live my life! However, Jesus did not provide a blanket statement about judgment in general.
One day, all will be judged. One day you will be held accountable for the righteous life you should have lived. This judgment will be final, right, and ultimately just. Revelation describes it this way: standing before the throne were all people great and small, and books were opened according to their works.
One day you will be judged and accountable for your life. No one can avoid the final judgment. Do you measure up?
Take-Home: Born once, die twice; born twice, die once. – Martin Luther in the margin of his Bible.
So what did Jesus mean when he said, “so that you won’t be judged?” First, the verb is in the present tense, which means Jesus proclaimed, “stop judging.” Second, the word judge can mean to condemn or avenge. This is God’s job, not yours. Only the Sovereign Lord has the final judgment according to His holy standard.
Yet, the word can also mean analyzing or evaluating, a good and healthy exercise.
It’s one thing to exercise careful and loving judgment; it’s quite another to have a judgmental attitude. The former is an action that can be carried out with the love of Christ; the latter is a negative characterquality.
When you received the Spirit of the Living God by faith, you received the Holy Spirit, not a Harassing Spirit. Godly sorrow always leads to repentance and life.
If honest, we all tend to take the truth and use it to protect our image and hammer others. Jesus did not want the hypocritical followers of the Pharisees to become the hypocritical followers of the Messiah.
Take-Home: Get rid of a critical spirit, and stop criticizing others.
A Charade (7:3-4) Now Jesus calls out hypocrisy for what it is, a charade. A charade is an absurd pretense of creating a pleasant or respectable appearance. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother when you have a beam of wood in your eye?
As a carpenter himself, the Messiah from Nazareth would have been well acquainted with the sawdust that filled the artisan's workshop. If you know anything about the eye, it only takes one speck to irritate.
Scratching and rubbing the splinter can only magnify the issue. The word Jesus uses means speck, straw, or splinter. The meaning is clear, your neighbor has something small in their eye, and even small things cause blindness!
But there is a more significant problem than sawdust! You have a beam/log in your eye, and you didn’t even notice!
Of course, Jesus is using hyperbole, and his message is much more than splinters and logs. The logs and the dust represent our shortcomings, moral failings, and iniquity. In essence, Jesus is saying that you have fallen short of the glory of God, and you don’t even care! All you are concerned about is your brother!
Take-Home: Pointing out your neighbor's sin with a critical spirit will never create a respectable appearance in your life.
A Cure (7:5-6) If Jesus’ sermon ended in verse four, your brother is perpetually irritated and visually impaired while you remain blind.
As only the Savior does, he not only delivers the diagnosis, but He provides the cure. Are you thankful for a Savior who doesn’t leave you sick, wounded, and dead in sin?
Cure #1 – First, take the beam from your eye. The Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, begs you always to ask this question first: “What about me?” Faith always says I have sinned. Faith always says, “Lord, be gracious to me!” Faith always says, “I am guilty.” Faith always says, “wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Faith says, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” You will never taste salvation until you confess your sins and accept God’s free gift of salvation for you.
Cure #1: Always ask, “what about me?”
Cure #2 – Jesus wants you to see clearly. When Christ takes your heart of stone, calloused to the ways of righteousness, and gives you a heart of flesh, receptive to holiness, then you can see clearly.
Mark 8:23 He took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village. Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:24 He looked up and said, “I see people—they look like trees walking.” Mark 8:25 Again, Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes. The man looked intently, and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Jesus wants you to see clearly, and He takes you by the hand as your faithful guide.
Take-Home: Sanctification is the continual process of Jesus improving your spiritual vision.
Cure #3 – Take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. The Messiah does not want your brother to remain blind either. Once we have dealt with our own sins, we are then in a position to gently and lovingly to confront and try to restore others who have trangressed.
The world can smell hypocrisy from a mile away, and the world can see true love from a mile away. True love is the oncologist who will not stop until every cancer cell in the patient is removed.
Evangelism that reeks of superiority, self-righteousness, and lacks self-examination will only make hard hearts more calloused. Instead, we must say to the world, “but by the grace of God, go I.”
True Gospel love will never rest until we share the news of a Savior who can remove planks and specks. When was the last time you shared the hope you have in Jesus with someone? When was the last time you shared with someone the hope they can have in Christ?
Take-Home: Jesus doesn’t want anyone to remain blind.
Indifference: Have you been guilty of putting your head in the sand? It’s easy to run away when the charge of “don’t judge me” is used. The wrong kind of judging is a charade. The right kind of judging is a cure: properly evaluating moral matters with a humble, helpful attitude.
Jesus followers can’t be indifferent! The way God treats you changes the way you treat others.
Criticism: Have you been guilty of living with a critical spirit. So Jesus is here commanding his followers not to be characterized by judgmental attitudes (cf. Williams, “Stop criticizing others”)
Are you the one criticized? Do you feel as though you could never do anything right? Give praise to the One who makes you righteous and worthy today.
What about me? Christianity begs the question, what about me before we ask what about others. When was the last time you asked the Father to search your heart?
Ps 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in an everlasting way.
Are you blind? Mark 8:23 He took the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village. Spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—