Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 7:1-5

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." -Matthew 7:1-5

What does this command require?

Do not judge. Do not try to take the 'speck' from your brother's eye when you have a 'plank' in your own eye. Remove your 'plank' first, then you will see clearly to remove the 'speck' from your brother's eye.

What truths do we learn from this command?

This is an oft-misunderstood passage. Many people use these verses to justify their own sinful habits and practices. When confronted by some dear brother about their sin, they grow angry and accuse their brother of hypocrisy, as Jesus does here. The conversation generally goes something like this:

Brother #1: "You have some sin in your life."
Brother #2: "Judge not that you be not judged."
Brother #1: "But you have some sin in your life."

Brother #1 does not know what to say, so he walks off, dumbfounded by this little encounter.
What these two do not understand is that Jesus is not giving permission to continue in a life of sin, unconfronted by fellow believers. And Jesus is not teaching here to stop using our God-given moral discernment. Jesus is teaching here that (1) I should not judge my brother for his sins. It is not my place. My place is to gently seek to restore my brother and plead with him to be reconciled to God. (2) If I am going to confront a brother about sin, I must first deal with my own sin. I must recognize that I am a wicked sinner (the plank) that needs cleansing and forgiveness from God. When I am able to confess my sins and take on a humble attitude, I may then seek to help my brother with his sins (the speck in his eye).

Brother #1 is right to point out sin in the life of Brother #2. Brother #2 may also be right about Brother #1 having sin in his own life, even though Brother #2 points it out with a sinful attitude. But what Brother #2 has failed to realize is that even if Brother #1 has a 'plank' in his eye, there is still a 'speck' in his own eye. We all have sin to confess and forsake. We can all learn from a brother helping us to see what we are so often blind to. We need to have humble, repentant attitudes when confronted about our sin.

Through this command we also learn much about grace. Though not specifically mentioned in these verses, the principle is clear. I must understand that I have been given grace from God. Only by His grace I am what I am. In fact, God has offered His grace to all mankind through Jesus Christ. Therefore, I am standing on equal ground with my fellow man. That brings us to Jesus' command here: Judge not that you be not judged. So live each day thankful for His grace, and extend that grace to your fellow man each time you are tempted to judge him for his lifestyles. He needs God's grace too!

What are the consequences for disobeying this command?

Jesus distinctly says here, "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged."; hypocritical lifestyle; ignored sin in your life;

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