10th September 2021
1Timothy 1:1-2. 12-14,
DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS
It’s so easy to see the sin of someone else and point it out but often more difficult to see our own sin; “Why do you see the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? ......You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye” Luke 6: 41-42.
It's just human to be quick to see the mistakes of others before we acknowledge our own mistakes.
Jesus is inviting us to embrace an attitude which will make us capable of going and encountering others without judging them, but accepting them as brothers and sisters, Mt 7:1-2; “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.”
The problem with judging is that the person who sets himself up as a judge of another person’s imperfections is also imperfect.
We should avoid turning ourselves into self- righteous Christians or scrupulous observers of the law like the Scribes and Pharisees. This may lead to spiritual pride. Spiritual pride occurs when we assume that we are good and the rest of the world is bad. We need to acknowledge that we, too, are sinners.
The more orthodox and scrupulous people are, the more prone they are to self-righteousness; to imagining that they are right and the rest of the world is wrong.
The analogy of the speck and the beam also implies another important aspect of our Christian living: Repentance. The critic cannot repent, unless critical focus is pointed inward. Christians, by definition, are reformed sinners following the Lord.
As reformed sinners, we struggle with our moral life. At the same time we continuously receive God’s grace so as to overcome the struggles that we face every day in our lives. Struggle and grace have no place for judgment. Christians cannot take the place of the Judge they profess to worship. Our only Judge is God. Sharp moral criticism is diametrically opposed to repentance.
When the Lord, tells us to hold off judgement until we have cleared our own slate, He is telling us not to judge at all, because we are never above judgement and condemnation. “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” John 8:8. Judging and throwing stones is uncharitable.
It is easier to point and condemn, than to take time to reflect, take stock, and repent.