|Are you blinded by a log?|
WATCH the YOUTUBE Video of the sermon here
The following is the transcript from the July 24, 2016 service at the Little Brown Church, Nashua, Iowa.
That’s right: “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
They may not know anything else Jesus said but they do know He said that. And the reason people remember that comment is that they get very uncomfortable about other people judging them. In fact, our culture is so troubled by this idea of being “judged” that we have several proverbs to warn us about it.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”George Eliot
“God doesn't propose to judge a man until he’s dead… so why should you?”
“Only God is in a position to look down on anyone.”
And of course, God Himself said:
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)What makes this worse is that most of the people who quote Jesus on this - misquote Him. Did you realize you can parrot Jesus’ words EXACTLY and still misquote Him? How’s that possible?
You can misquote Jesus by only quoting PART of what He says.
For example, just a couple of sentences after Jesus says, “Judge not…” He says this:
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6Now… is Jesus talking here about real dogs and pigs? No, He’s talking about people who act LIKE dogs and pigs. People who have no respect for sacred things and who will destroy things that are precious to you. And then they’ll turn on you and chew you up and spit you out - just because they can.
So now, here’s the question: How do you know who’s a dog and who’s a pig? You have to make a “judgment” – literally translated as an evaluation of how a person acts. You have to watch and see a person’s actions and decide whether or not you can trust them.
And that makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Let’s say you’re going on a long trip and you need someone to house sit for you. You have two friends that come to mind to do this for you. One takes great care of everything they own. Everything in their home has a place and everything is in its place. Their home is immaculate. Your other friend is a nice person – but they’re a slob! Now who you gonna ask to take care of your house while you’re gone?
You have just made a value-judgment based on the character of your friends. And you cannot live a normal life without making judgments about who you can trust and who you can’t.
Jesus didn't really mean we shouldn't make judgments about people - He just meant we should be VERY careful how we do it. Notice the entire quote on judging in Matthew 7:
“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.” Matthew 7:1-2In other words – if you’re HARSH with others, God will be harsh with you. But if you show MERCY to others, God will show mercy to you in the same way you judge others, you’ll be judged.
James explains it this way;
“Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who SPEAKS AGAINST HIS BROTHER or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 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 4:11-12You see, the Bible is warning us against the tendency to play God. But there is only ONE lawgiver and judge. Who’s that? (God) There’s only one God and you ain’t Him. So don’t go trying to take over His job.
But here’s the problem: most people don’t think that way. Most people believe they have the right to sit in judgment of others.
Now, why do people “judge” others? I mean, this was an important enough subject that God repeatedly addresses its evils. If God condemns this harsh type of judging… why on earth would we do it?
Well, we do it because:
We’re smarter than they are.
We’re more insightful than they are.
We’re more holy/ righteous/ spiritual… than they are.
We’re just plain BETTER folks than they are.
And because that is true in every conflict - if we’re in the wrong, the other person is MORE wrong than I am. Now Jesus understood this tendency to judge others in our conflicts so He set down what we call the “90% Solution”
Let’s say _______ here, and I, are angry with each other. I’m willing to be ‘big’ about this and admit that I may have some fault in this conflict… but he has more. I see the problem as being 10% my fault and 90% his.
Now ___________ sees the problem as 90% MY fault and 10% his. Essentially we both see the other as having planks/logs coming out of their eyes. But the speck in our own eyes is insignificant compared to the fault of the other. We have “judged” each other, and found the other to be more at fault than ourselves.
So Jesus says – quit doing that. Take the log (what your adversary sees as being 90% your fault) out of your own eye, then you've opened the way for the two of you deal with the other guys fault.
Now, let’s say that you don’t think you have ANY fault in this matter at all. That’s easy to remedy. You simply say to the other person “I have offended you” - which is true. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong… the other person is offended by you. So you state the obvious. “I have offended you. Would you forgive me for offending you?”
Thus, you've removed the log from your own eye, and you can work at solving the conflict. What’s the point? The point is that God’s not into our condemning those we disagree with.
Henry Ford once summed up God’s thinking this way: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”
This especially is true when it comes to church discipline. Have you ever heard of “excommunication?” It’s where a church is called upon by God to confront and discipline sinful members who refuse to repent and change their immoral lifestyles.
It’s Biblical, and an example of it is recorded in I Corinthians chapters 5 and 6. Apparently there was a young man living with his step-mother. It’s such an immoral situation that Paul says “even the pagans don’t do this!”
Now, the church at Corinth was trying to be non-judgmental. They knew about the man’s sin, but chose to look the other way in the false hope that he might be convicted on his own of the evil of choice. But Paul told them – they weren't doing anybody any favors. If they ignored the man’s sin, he’d go to hell – and they’d be at fault. His blood would be on their hands. And others in the church would see the church “approving” his sin and they’d be more likely to engage in their own kinds of sins. And why not, the church apparently doesn’t care.
This is worth remembering: A church that won’t stand against immorality doesn't stand for much of anything. Such a church has no message and embarrasses its Savior.
But the story out of I Corinthians 5 has a happy ending. The man, that the church ultimately ostracized, repented and wanted to come back. And they brought him back in. He was forgiven and reinstated as a fellow brother.
You see, that’s the point of BIBLICAL discipline. A Godly church doesn't want to destroy people. It wants people to repent. When Jesus “forgave” people’s sins He would often say: “Go and sin no more.”
You see, judgmental folks don’t love much because they don’t think they've been forgiven much. After all, if you don’t need to be forgiven, you’re obviously more righteous. You’re obviously more qualified to pass judgment. You’re obviously in a position to advise God.
But if you've been forgiven much, you understand the value of mercy. And you understand the value of showing that same mercy to others.
Father, hear our prayers for this congregational family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore those whose heart is broken by your Word. Grant to us all the things necessary for our everyday life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within the church. We ask this through Jesus’ name, amen.