It’s hard to judge another person when there is a plank sticking out of your eye. But what do you do if your brother or sister in Christ really needs your help?
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
This morning, our passage is on judging others, so I decided on Wednesday to do a personal experiment…
I decided that for 24 hours, I would write down every single time I judged another person…and thought negatively of them (or their actions)…no matter how small that judgment was.
And let me tell you it was one of the more painful (or embarrassing) experiments I’ve ever done
I started while I was at Culver’s for lunch, and I was up to five judgments before I even left the restaurant.
Let me read you some of the things on my list from those 24 hours:
“That man next to me must not have any self-awareness because he’s basically screaming into his cell-phone in a restaurant.
“Why is that person wearing camo pants and a dress shirt? Seriously?”
“Why is that person mowing her lawn? Doesn’t even look like it needs to be cut.”
“I better remind that group of that…they’ll never remember”
“Why does that person still have their construction sign out for their hail damage? Maybe they just stopped seeing that sign”
And it went on and on until I tallied 21 judgments in 24 hours, and those are just the ones that I was self-aware enough to write down.
In my defense…part of those 24 hours, I was at the State Fair…so there were thousands of opportunities for me to judge ☺
I should have hidden in a hole for 24 hours.
When it was all said and done, my first thought was, “I’m sick. Man, I’m even more sinful than I thought”
If you think you are a pretty awesome Christian, I dare you to try this experiment for the next 24 hours
And my second thought was, “What does that do to our hearts? To live that way? To always live in judgment of the people around us?”
In our passage today, Jesus is going to tell us that it’s not good for us…
We’re also going to see though that there is indeed a Godly way to use judgment
(Luke 6:37-42) – NIV
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
So Jesus starts by saying, “Do not judge.”
Before we go any further, let’s be clear: The word judge, like most words, means more than one thing.
In fact, the dictionary tells us that there are actually 10 different definitions for the word when it’s a verb.
There is “to judge”…meaning to “evaluate” or “assess”
That is, to make a “judgment” on whether something is right or wrong or bad or good.
Is that what Jesus is talking about?
That’s how must people look at it today.
If you take a stand on an issue, they’ll say, “You’re not supposed to judge!”
Which ironically, is a judgmental statement.
That’s not the type of judging Jesus is talking about.
He’s not telling you to never say something is wrong.
In fact in verse 42 he’s asking people to judge in just that way.
He tells us we need to remove the speck of sin from our brother’s eye.
CLEARLY there’s judgement involved in that.
In John 7, Jesus says, “Stop judging by appearances, but judge correctly”
Christians are told to judge between right and wrong in just about every other chapter of the entire New Testament!
So what does Jesus mean in verse 37 then when he says, “DO NOT JUDGE?”
The clue is in the parallelism of verse 37: Right after we’re told: “Do not judge”…we’re told “Do not condemn”
We’re not to judge…like God is going to judge us one day…
We’re not to come down on people and say, “They are condemned. They are bad. I bet they’re walking away from God right now. They’re terrible parents. She’s a bad mom. He’s messed up his life and it’s over…”
That kind of judging is not our place.
God has not given you the authority or position to make those sort of statements about where people are headed.
That’s beyond a qualitative judgment of right and wrong.
And that kind of judgment is not only bad for the person you are judging but it’s bad for you as well.
One other note on this passage before we break it down.
Jesus is talking about judgment within the Christian community.
He’s talking about taking the speck out of your BROTHER’S eye…Brother in Christ. Sister in Christ.
And so, this is not a message on us judging how nonbelievers out in the world sin…
In fact, Paul says this:
(1 Corinthians 5:12) – NIV
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?
So have that in mind as you listen today.
I believe, that in Luke 6 today, we are given 3 reasons not to judge with a condemning spirit
Let’s walk through them:
The first one is for your own benefit:
3 Reasons not to Judge
#1: The way you judge others, will be the way others judge you
THE MEASURE YOU USE…
This is proverbial in nature, right?
But I want you to see that it’s almost always true.
It’s the teaching of verses 37 and 38
Do not judge and you will not be judged
Forgive, and you will be forgiven
Give and it will be given to you.
This is not Karma, but the what the Bible would call “reaping and sowing”
As a general principle: What you lay down in the soil of your life is what will be reaped
If you offer forgiveness easily and frequently to others, then guess what?
You will, more than the average person, see it returned to you.
Over a decade ago now, I read of a study where a teacher would ask her students to jot down, in thirty seconds, the initials of all the kids in the class they disliked (you could never get away with this nowadays)
Some of the students could think of only one person.
Others listed as many as fourteen.
But here’s the interesting fact that came out of this research:
Those who disliked the largest number of people were always themselves the most widely disliked.
If you’re always carrying around judgment, and hate, and disdain for other people…it’s going to spill out.
And guess what?
People are going to have a hard time with you
But if you’re always carrying around grace, forgiveness, and giving people the benefit of the doubt…
People are (not always), but much more likely to give that back to you.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
YOU ARE BLINDED BY YOUR OWN SIN
Okay, let’s work through the second reason that Jesus tells us we ought to avoid judging people “in a condemning way”
3 Reasons not to “Judge”
#1: The way you judge others, will be the way others judge you
#2: You are blinded by your own sin
What does the Scripture say?
(Luke 6:41) – NIV
41 “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?
We are all sinners. Miserable ones in fact.
I just looked deeply into my own wicked heart for 24 hours, and I judged other people over 20 times!
And a few of you just judged me for that! ☺
You went, “Ohhhh…that’s a lot. What’s wrong with him?”
Our hearts want to judge so we can feel better.
“Oh phew…I’m not like that sinner, David”
We don’t want to do the hard work of looking deep at our own hearts so we just focus on what we think is wrong with other people’s hearts instead”
“It’s not me that’s messing up the marriage…
“I’m not the problem at work…
It feels good to prop yourself up on the judgment seat above others.
But Jesus is saying, “Sorry bud, that’s not who you are. You are not “ABOVE” your fellow sinner”
This is what most of us look like: (Pick up large 2x4 plank and hold it up to one eye)
We walk around, with a massive plank coming out of one eye.
Perhaps this passage is a little easier to understand if I preach with a plank in my eye for a few minutes… especially if you’re a visual learner
Jesus says in verse 41 that many of us “pay no attention” to our planks
We don’t see it.
If I close my one eye, and put this out to side, it’s actually not even in my line of sight right now.
But can YOU see this???
What we often don’t realize is that our sin is usually significantly more obvious to other people than it is to us.
This is why Christian community are important.
This is why you need to sign-up for a House Group next week
When you look at yourself, you can’t see what you look like.
You need people speaking into your life.
I also find that Christians who haven’t come to terms yet with just how invasive sin is in their life are often incredibly sensitive to criticism.
If you were to say, “David, there’s a plank coming out of your eye,” but let’s say I didn’t know it yet or see it yet
I’m going to be incredibly sensitive (defensive) to your criticism…your willingness to help.
That’s offensive to me!
That you would say such an outlandish thing about me!!
But if I already know and believe there’s a plank of sin in my life…I’m going to respond differently.
I would say, “Yeah, tell me about it. It’s pretty big huh? Keeps me humble”
What else can we learn from this?
How frustrating would it be…how INEFFECTIVE would it be…if I came up to you, with this enormous plank in my eye, and said, “My friend, you have a serious anger problem, a drinking problem, a jealousy problem, and I’m the person to help you fix that!”
I could never even get close to you to help.
My plank would get in the way.
And you’d never trust me.
You’d say, “How could you help me get rid of a sin in my life when you don’t even have enough awareness to notice the major sins in yours?!?”
(put plank down)
I sometimes think that trying to help other people when you haven’t dealt at all with your own stuff, is like offering your services as a one-eyed surgeon…and no one is excited about having a one-eyed surgeon fix their life.
If you’re blind in one eye, one of things you lose is true depth perception.
And when we’re blinded by our own sin, and haven’t acknowledged it yet, we don’t see anyone else’s life with any depth.
We just see enough of it to make foolish judgments.
This is in line with the old statement:
We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their behavior
When we mess up, we want people to see our intentions, to take into consideration our family situation, our past experiences, our ability, and about 1,000 other circumstances that led to our decision.
But when someone in our lives messes up, we immediately judge them by ONLY what we can see on the surface.
We’re blinded by our sin.
One-eyed surgeons making snap judgments about how things could be fixed!
As I looked back through my list of 21 judgments in 24 hours, I never took the time to think through possible intentions on any of them.
But in hindsight, it’s not that hard to do.
And this is what I want to do more of in the future.
The woman mowing her short lawn is maybe doing so because she has to leave town for 10 days.
The guy talking loud on his phone is maybe hard of hearing.
The person with the hail sign still out is maybe in a tough situation where their contractor hasn’t come through for them yet
The guy in the dress shirt and camo pants…I still couldn’t make sense of that one.
I need help ☺
WE JUDGE TO RESTORE, NOT TO CONDEMN
So how do we do this well?
Because Jesus says we are supposed to make some sort of judgments…to help people…just not the condemning sort of judgments.
Here’s how he tells us to do it:
(Luke 6:42b) – NIV
first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
That’s not a condemning judgment, it’s something else.
I would put it this way.
3 Reasons not to Judge
#1: The way you judge others, will be the way others judge you
#2: You are blinded by your own sin
#3: We are to restore, not just judge
We are indeed called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ get the speck out of their eye (a certain sin out of their life)
But not just by judging on the sideline.
We make an evaluation, an assessment, of what’s happening in their lives, and we HELP.
The Scriptures tell us to do so:
(Galatians 6:1a) – NIV
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
So how do we practically do that? And to WHOM?
Let give you a bunch of practical advice for how this can work out in our lives.
Firstly, if you don’t know the person or have a friendship with them, then stop judging them in your mind.
And stop judging them as you talk with your friends or complain to your spouse at night.
We’re told in the verse we just read about taking the speck out of our “brother’s” eye…that’s someone we know well.
We’re not taking it out of a “stranger” or an “acquaintance’s” eye.
If you have no intentions of moving in and helping this person you’ve now judged get restored, stop that train of thought in your mind right then and there.
It’s only hurting you!
Your judgments say far more about yourself than the person you’re judging.
As I went through my list of 21 judgments, over half of them were of people I didn’t even know.
What a waste of my time to be thinking of those things. Seriously.
If your mind is constantly thinking about OTHER people’s sin and OTHER people’s shortcomings…
It’s damaging to your heart
When you’re constantly in judgment of people you have no intentions of restoring:
Every time you make a judgment of someone else, it’s another toxic injection of pride in your life.
Every time you make a judgment of someone else, you’ll now be focused on other’s sin instead of your own
For your own sanity and spiritual health, ask the Holy Spirit to help convict you when you do this…and to help eradicate it from your life
Secondly, if you do have a relationship with this person who’s sin you’ve judged, determine if it’s really worth having a conversation about it or not.
You can’t have a sit down conversation about everything.
I can’t look at my 2-year-old every 7 minutes and say, “Lincoln, sit down. Time for an intervention. I saw you knocked over the duplos.”
We can’t live in community with each other unless we’re willing to show grace
But thirdly, if you’ve assessed & determined that a particular sin is indeed damaging their life…and they need to be restored, then it IS your job as their Christian brother or sister…as one who is CLOSE to them in their life…to restore them to walking closely with Jesus again.
Listen, the Christian is called to show unconditional love, but not unconditional approval.
That’s why Paul just said in Galatians, if someone is caught in sin, we should help restore them. .
We’re called to operate in the middle ground.
We’re not called to lift our noses and judge our Christian brothers and sisters and leave it at that.
And we’re also not called to say, “God loves you no matter what you do…so keep doing “you”
If someone has something in their eye and it’s hurting them, we’re supposed to humbly, and gently, help them get it out!
But you can’t help anyone unless you understand the first few points we already talked about…particularly the size of your own sin.
You need to understand that you are both:
If you just think you’re incredibly sinful, you’ll actually never help anyone
You’ll just say, “Who am I to help anyone? I’m just an enormous sinner. What help could I bring?”
And if you just think you’re incredibly loved (and not also incredibly sinful), you’ll hit them with your plank as you try and get closer to them to help.
But if you reach out to someone and you say, “Hey, you know how messed up I am. You’ve heard me talk about my sin…it’s messy….
“….And yet, I know that Jesus loves me…and forgives me…and wants the best for me…and I want that for you too”
“And lately, I feel like you’re drifting from Him, and I just want you to know that He loves you…and living in His will is by the far the best thing for you”
If you can talk like that, people will listen.
More importantly, if you can LIVE like that, people will listen.
The other day, my wife and I were talking about a woman we both know who is incredibly good at being self-deprecating.
She’s always joking about her own faults and telling funny stories about her own shortfalls as a parent.
She’s basically poking fun about what it’s like to live with a plank in your eye.
But there are other people we know, that never talk about their faults…or how they’re working on them.
They only talk about how awesome their kids are, and how their parenting philosophy is clearly superior to everyone else’s…you know people like this?
Now let me ask you a question, when you’re struggling…and honestly, you need someone to challenge you in your struggles:
Which one of those two types of people do you want talking to you?
You want the person who talks about their plank…and how yeah, it’s there, but God is working on it!
We need to talk to our friends and family in such a way that we can admit that we are just lowly, one-eyed surgeons.
Yes, we’re trying to help…trying to help them walk closer to Jesus, but in humility, we tell them that we might not see everything perfectly in their life.
We don’t know their intentions.
We’ve got our own sin we have to see through.
BUT, because God has placed us in their life, and because we can see part of their lives that THEY can’t see…
We want to help.
But because we KNOW we’re just one-eyed surgeons…we don’t really want to FIX them…just point them to the MASTER surgeon.
And so I encourage you today…
Stop judging the people you aren’t in a position to restore.
If it’s a person who’s not even a Christian yet, you gotta stop expecting people that don’t have the spirit of Christ to act like Christ.
They just need Jesus first!
And with the Christians whom you are in a position to restore, enter the conversation humbly, knowing you’re just a one-eyed surgeon…but you know the master surgeon.
The one who loves us so much that he took our plank of sin…and was nailed to it.
Let me pray.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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