“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.
This is another familiar passage of Scripture on pronouncing judgment on others. Sometimes it’s used to simply promote tolerance as if Jesus is saying, “live and let live”. Don’t point the finger at me and I won’t point the finger at you. However, this doesn’t go far enough or deep enough. Here’s a couple observations from this text:
First, Jesus calls the person we are judging our “brother”. Brother, brother, brother. Three times Jesus intentionally uses this word brother. O brother! Jesus is redundant here. It’s as if Jesus wants to remind the one pronouncing judgment that when you condemn those who are different than you, you are condemning a member of your own family, your own kin, your own blood.
Second, He points out, rather creatively, that it’s our own imperfections that blind us to seeing others rightly. We can’t see others splinters rightly when our own eye has a log jammed in it. How true! So often the “junk” going on in my life impairs how I see others throughout my day. My wife, my kids, the person going way too slow in traffic! We often don’t see things the way they really are, we see things the way we are. Jesus advice? Grab some Saline Solution and a wash cloth. Get that gunk out that's impairing your perception. Remove that which truly is agitating you and blurring your vision. Only then you will see and respond to others more rightly.
Finally, Jesus says we best exercise great caution. The judgment you pronounce on others will boomerang back on you. When you sow judgement, you will reap judgment. Sow condemnation, reap condemnation. Sow critique and criticism, you will reap it. What a powerful understanding of community. What you pour into the world, will ultimately be poured back out onto you. What are you pouring out on those around you? Be careful of the bullets you let fly. They just might ricochet back at you!