The Speck and Log Judgment

Hearts don’t change because we tell them to change.

There’s an old saying, “We judge others by their worst sins and ourselves by our best intentions.” The hypocrisy is blatant.

Jesus makes a similar statement in Matthew 7. He tells us not to judge if we lack the repentance and humility to judge correctly.

How do we learn to judge correctly and avoid hypocrisy?

Step 1: Don’t Judge

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:1-2 ESV

The first step to using correct judgment is to stop judging because when you go around judging others, they’ll judge you right back. Not only will they judge you, but they’ll use the same standard against you only stricter. Remember what mom would say, “Every time you point at someone, three fingers point back.”

Our default mode of judgment is personal and reactionary. If you haven’t noticed this in life, you’ve certainly seen it on social media. This is our sin nature. We view the sin of others as more sinful than our own. Our sin is a speck in the eye, but there’s a log to the head and it must be dealt with immediately and severely.

Step 2: Check Your Intentions

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

Matthew 7:3-4 ESV

It’s even possible with our best intentions to approach someone in love in order to help them overcome a sin and still be incapable of making a proper judgment. We want to help, but we haven’t had the humility to face our own sin. If we haven’t faced our own sin, our effort to help will seem like we’re making someone a project. This is selfish and self-serving, even hypocritical.

Step 3: Repent of your Sins

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5

We need to examine ourselves and be honest. Where is the sin in our life and are we repentant? We may not resolve it immediately and that’s the clue to have some humility. How can we expect others to resolve a sin immediately if we haven’t?

Repent and keep repenting. Repentance develops humility. Humility develops empathy. When we have empathy, we see clearly, and we begin to see specks for specks instead of logs.

Step 4: The Gambler’s Gambit

You got to know when to hold’em and know when to fold’em.

The Gambler, Kenny Rogers

Speaking of specks and logs; it’s important to know when a speck is a speck, a log is a log, when someone actually wants your help, or if you’re just pushing yourself on them. This is really the crux of the matter because what Jesus is calling us to is to judge rightly, rather than simply passing judgment on others.

If someone asks for help, we can speak to them compassionately, but also forthrightly.

If they’re not asking for help then understand your concern for their soul will either be seen as condemnation, or just nitpicky. In this case, consider the scope of the particular sin you’re judging. Without minimizing sin, ask yourself: Is it a symptom, or disease? Who does it impact and how? Why do I care?

There are good answers to these questions, but they must be answered because we’re talking about humans interacting with humans. Jesus can call you hypocrite to your face and He would be right and you would feel the weight of your sin. If I do it, I’m more likely to feel the weight of your fist on my face.

One Last Thing

After explaining how to judge rightly, Jesus adds, “Do not give dogs what is holy” and “Do not throw pearls before pigs”. Sometimes, even when we are at our most compassionate and most humble, and sincerely want to help, the person will turn on you and attack.

Jesus talks about pigs trampling pearls in the mud. The way to avoid this is to not throw the pearls to the pigs in the first place. If the pearls are the truth in God’s Word and the hearer has only disdain for it, walk away. Pray.

Keep in mind even Jesus didn’t do miracles for unbelievers.






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