Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you 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, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
The Bible doesn’t say: “Don’t judge others.”
Actually, the Bible does say it. You can read the words from Jesus’ lips right there. Jesus himself said, “Don’t judge or else you will be judged.”
We need to understand that Jesus is talking to us in these verses. He’s talking to us about our attitudes and our own sin. It’s probing and piercing when Jesus says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye…” He’s right. You can’t possibly come to someone else in this life to point out their sin and help them out of it when you haven’t addressed your own sin first. Jesus urges us to repent and ask for forgiveness and cleansing for our own sin.
This leads us to be honest with ourselves and with God about the sin in our own lives. It isn’t that Jesus forbids us from pointing out the sin of others. Jesus wants us to be honest with him and with ourselves before we do.
Honesty leads us to be humble and broken as we point out other people’s sin. It helps us see that we are no different from the people whom we want to call out for their sin. We are also under the threat of God’s judgement. Jesus wants us to “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
In all of this, as you call people out for their sin, remember these two things. 1) God is ultimately the judge. You are not the judge; you are simply telling people carefully, clearly, and lovingly what God says in his Word. Let his Word speak to these dear people. Let God be the judge. 2) Remember your goal. Your goal is not to get people to change their ways. Your goal in pointing out sin is to lead people to repentance and then to tell them the good news, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Learn from Jesus who, even though he could have tossed stones at a woman caught in adultery, said to her: “Woman, has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go now, and leave your life of sin” (cf. John 8:10-11). He addressed her sin, most importantly forgave her and urged her to leave that life behind.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I don’t like it when people turn from you and live in sin. I want them to turn to you for repentance and faith. Give me honesty, humility, and deep love for them as I talk to them about the sin in their life and your never-ending forgiveness. Amen.