Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6
I. We see specks in others because we like to play God.
A. The word judge (vs. 1) has a wide range of meanings. Sometimes, we speak about judging in terms of evaluating or analyzing a person’s behavior. And sometimes we speak about judging in terms of a judge condemning someone in a court of law. Some kinds of judging are perfectly legitimate. So, what does Jesus mean then when he says in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not.” He means, “Don’t be judgmental toward people. Don’t be constantly looking down your nose at other people because you think you are better than them.”
B. There is only one judge who is capable of judging the people around you. God. Romans 14:10: “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Unfortunately, we human beings like playing God. We like to act like we are God. But if you take on God’s role as judge, then God is going to treat you in the same way you treat other people. God will judge you in the same way you judge others (vs. 2).
II. We see specks in others because we are often self-righteous.
A. A desire for righteousness, which is a good thing (see Matt. 6:33), can breed self-righteousness. But when you become self-righteous in your own eyes, you become the central character in Jesus’ funny story in vs. 3-4 in which a man with a log in his eye tries to help someone with a speck in his eye. The only one with all the facts about people and situations is God. He is the only who can judge us perfectly. But when we judge others, we are often just being self-righteous.
B. What is the cure for being judgmental and self-righteous? Jesus shows us the cure in another story he told in Luke 18:10-14. The Pharisee in this story is the judgmental and self-righteous one. And where are his eyes directed? They are first on himself and then on others who he believes are less than him. The eyes of the tax collector though are on the ground. He wants to look at God, but He can’t. He knows he needs mercy. The tax collector then looked in the mirror and saw his need for mercy rather than looking at another person and going all judgmental.
III. We see specks in others because we are often hypocrites.
A. How often we criticize others when we have far more serious shortcomings in our own lives. Why? Honestly, it’s because we can be such hypocrites (Matthew 7:5). We conveniently forget about our own major sins when we look at the small sins of others. Think for example about King David in 2 Samuel 11. When the prophet Nathan confronted David for his sins of adultery and murder, he told David, “You are the man! (2 Sam. 12:7) You hypocrite! Your sin is so great, and yet you can’t even see it. You need to repent, to turn away from this great sin that you have committed.” Yes, other people do something wrong. And they need to be confronted. But let me look in the mirror first. Let me receive the mercy I need from Jesus first. Then, I can talk to someone else about their sin and point them to the mercy and righteousness that we all need from Christ.
Look in the mirror and see your need for mercy and ask Christ for that mercy.
The Gospel according to Matthew
Commentaries on Matthew by R.T. France, D.A. Carson and Craig Blomberg
Sermon Discussion Questions
What kind of judging does Jesus say we should not do in Matthew 7:1? Who is the only one who can accurately judge another person?
Why is it easy for a Christian to become self-righteous? What is the cure for us when we fall into a pattern of self-righteousness?
How can we see our own hypocrisy? What did it take for King David to see his hypocrisy? Does Jesus’ teaching about not being judgmental mean that we should be naïve about people?