Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail
Matthew 7:1-5 contains that well known verse, “Judge not that you be not judged.”
This has been a misquoted and misunderstood section of scripture because some have taken this to mean that Jesus is implying that not judging someone involves a complete acceptance of a sinful lifestyle. This obviously isn’t the case since later in this same chapter He tells us that we can judge others based on their fruits. How will we know if a “sheep” is really a “wolf” in disguise?
We can sort the wool from the wolves by judging the actions of both.
Some level of judgment, then, must be passed on our part, but this is not to be an action of belittlement. Jesus will masterfully use the illustration of the plank-eyed man attempting to remove a speck out of another’s eye. Notice how our Lord doesn’t reprimand the attempt to remove the speck, but that we can see the speck better when that metaphorical plank is removed from our own eye.
Jesus is not teaching an acceptance of sin, nor is it a lack of love. Unconditional love is a requirement, but Jesus shows that it is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. A speck can keep us from the narrow gate just as easily as a plank can– and both should be removed.
Here are three thoughts to consider on these verses
- Our own planks aren’t as obvious to us as they are to others. Before becoming agitated and aggravated with a brother or sister we should keep in mind that they may not know what is so obvious to others.
- Our eyes must be clear if we are ever going to help others.
- Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t help, but that we are required to.