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  • Zack DeBruyne

The Speck and The Log



Matthew 7:1-5

“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.

What do you think Jesus is trying to say through this parable? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

How easy is it to judge others? How often do we judge others?

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What is the difference between the sawdust and the plank?

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Judgement

  • Jesus warns his disciples against setting themselves over others and making a pronouncement of their guilt before God.

  • “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12).

  • Absolute judgment is a categorical pronouncement of the guilt of another person as though this is the final word on a matter.

  • He or she has usurped the place of God because only God can judge in this way.

Why should we not judge?

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Why Should We Not Judge?

  • When disciples have developed this critical, condemning attitude as a pattern of life, they have forced love out of their relationships with others.

  • A representation of a lack of love.

  • If we don’t have that love, but instead have vindictive condemnation in our hearts, we demonstrate that we really do not know God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Why do we still judge?

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Mercy

  • “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (5:7).

  • Because true disciples have received forgiveness, they will forgive one another.

  • From the mercy and undeserved grace that we have been given, we are called to share that same life and grace of God toward others -- instead of judgement and wrongful treatment.

1 John 4:9 - “We love because he first loved us.”
Ephesians 4:32 - “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

How can we offer mercy, grace, and forgiveness to those who have wronged us or judged us?

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“Why look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

  • The contrast illustrates the difference between the insignificance of the problem of the accused in comparison to the magnitude of the accuser’s problem. The accuser cannot help anyone else because his spiritual vision is impaired by the plank in his own eye.

  • Hypocrite: The hypocrite thinks he can see clearly the sin of a fellow disciple and is condemning her before God. However, he has not seen his own self-righteous, judgmental attitude.

  • Religion: Religious ideas and identities can blind us to true compassion, faith, and love toward others.

  • Then restoration can occur with the right attitude: “After self-criticism takes place, relationships are based on redemptive empathy rather than condemning detachment.”

  • True followers of Jesus will not judge one another inappropriately, because they have experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness and so will extend to others that same mercy and forgiveness out of gratitude to God (7:1–5).

The Golden Rule

  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  • “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ … And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matt. 22:37–40; cf. Deut. 6:4–5 and Lev. 19:18)

  • Love for God enables us to love others, which means in its most practical sense to do to others as we would want to have done to us.

  • It is an ethical ideal that fulfills the deepest inclination of the person created in the image of God, liberating Jesus’ disciples from religious obedience to extend in concrete activities of the very love of God to others.

  • To move from judgment or hypocrisy to love.

What does the Golden Rule mean to you?

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Two Sides of the Story

  • We are not to judge (7:1), yet we are to be wisely discerning (7:5).

  • To be an accurate judge, a person must know the accusation, have all of the evidence, hear both sides, render a verdict impartially, and then carry out the punishment according to the law.

  • Absolute judgment (which only God can do) is prohibited, yet a relative judging or evaluation of a person’s behavior is required.

  • This is required that we might know how to best serve and love the individual in front of us. Not so that we might put ourselves above them, belittle them, or wrongfully accuse them.

  • Example: Homeless population.

  • Applying all of God’s truth and love to our pursuit of a relationship with God will enable us to keep the balance of tension.

Why Does this Matter for Us Today?

  • We live in a world where judgement happens constantly.

  • We often are quick to judge others based on how they look, what they say, or how they act.

  • Jesus was so far away from this judgement - he welcomed, loved, and ate meals with prostitutes, lepers, and tax-collectors. Those on the outskirts of society.

  • As we consider the Christian faith, we must recognize that following Jesus is a call to live nonjudgmentally. To disconnect from the world that calls us to judge, to like, and to comment -- but instead, to welcome with love and relationship.

  • We must also consider the importance of inward reflection.

  • Faith is not disconnected from who we are, or our life experience.

  • We must recognize that we too are broken people deserving of God’s judgement, with planks in our own eyes.

  • And yet we receive welcome, wholehearted forgiveness.

  • “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

  • Romans 5:6-8

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