Matthew 7:1-6

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.” Matthew 7:1-6

A big story in the news this week is a book written by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. He wrote the book because he believes that he and his political party have strayed from the core principles that have long guided them. It is both self-reflection and scathing indictment. It marks a huge political risk that could elevate his personal stature or see to his defeat. I bought the book but haven’t read it yet. I thought of it this morning in the context of Jesus’ words about logs and splinters.

The Christian movement has long been criticized for being too “judgmental.” I get that. I feel that. I do that. I doubt, however, that this lies at the core of Christianity. It seems to me that comparing ourselves to others, looking down at others, viewing others harshly, is more about being a broken human than about being a faithful Christian. We like short-cuts and easy roads and if that requires you losing so that we can win, so be it. This doesn’t help anyone in the long run. It is corrosive to human community.

We not only judge others, we take it upon ourselves to set the standards by which we offer our judgments. Our standards become shifting sands rather than trustworthy bedrock. If we can rally a few folks to our point of view, then we can gang up on others. Hubris crowds out humility and everything becomes a power play.

Once again the wisdom of the recovery movement offers us an insight into hearing Jesus well this morning. The first step is admitting personal powerlessness. From there a person is led to a new place of seeking God’s direction and support because no one can do surgery on themselves. Then comes some honest self-reflection and a humble admission of reality. Only then is a person prepared to mend relationships, make right what can be made right, and move forward.

This is hard. It is terrifying. It means letting go. It means coming to terms with the reality that, as harshly as we might judge others, deep down inside, most of us judge ourselves far more harshly, and far more quickly, than anyone else might judge us.

When we let Jesus be our only judge, we are on a path toward freedom. His standard will always be love. Discovering what that means and how that works is the point of our lives. It is the measure of holiness. The pearl of great price.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we feel the pressure of judgement in our lives. We quickly evaluate others and are slow to do the same to ourselves. We can’t clearly see. Slow us down. Open our eyes. Forgive our pride and grant us the humility that sets us free. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 7:1-6”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I needed that this morning! Thanks!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you for the great insight. I to need to open my eyes!

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