Jesus admonished us in Matthew 7:1, Judge not, that ye be not judged.  This is one of the most recited verses in all of Scripture. Yet it’s one of the most misunderstood, misapplied, and abused. The verse is most-commonly evoked in cases of sin, doctrinal error, or morality. And it is thus quoted to authoritatively and unequivocally declare that Christians have no right to judge others—including other Christians—who are involved in sin or error. It is perhaps a well-intentioned plea for Christians to just shut up, leave people alone, and let God do the judging.

I am not an advocate for judgmentalism. I detest that spirit and the aura of self-righteousness that goes with it when I see it manifest in Christians.

Christ prohibits us from judging other people and I believe we all need to give heed to our Lord and quit judging people. Let God do the judging and let us do the praying. We serve the cause of Christ best by befriending people and extending a helping hand instead of cutting them down and making them feel like dirt. The Word of God that we share in kindness and love, and the Spirit of Christ that we manifest with all meekness and gentleness, will minister conviction, life, and the hope of change. Judging them will not.

What I am against, however, is the thoughtless or flagrant use of Matthew 7:1 that produces a silence about sin where there ought to be none; and the use of our Lord’s prohibition to foster the accommodation, tolerance, and acceptance of sin among God’s people. Sin’s killing us. And our silence has resulted in a tragic and lamentable lowering of the righteous morality that Christ wants His followers to have.

What I’d like to do in these blog posts is provide balance to the prohibition by bringing out the whole counsel of Scripture.

The prohibition against judging in Matthew 7:1 tells us that there are times when it is indeed wrong for us to judge others. In my last blog post in this series we saw that it’s wrong for us to judge unrighteously or unfairly. Let’s look at a second instance where it would be inappropriate and wrong for us to judge others.


In Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus tells us not to judge anyone. If we insist on doing it anyway, He will judge us in the same way that we judge others.

Jesus then goes on to tell us why we’re not qualified to judge others. Here’s what He says in verses 3-5, And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  (4)  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  (5)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

You look at a person and see a mote in their eye. A mote is a tiny splinter or speck. It’s like the dust that gets in your eye when you’re cutting wood or mowing the lawn. You see a tiny splinter in a person’s eye, but there’s a beam in yours. A beam is a humongous log that’s used as the main pillars or rafters of a barn. You’ve seen these beams. They’re like 10” – 12” square and 20’ long. Now here’s a paradox. You see a tiny splinter in your brother’s eye, but you’ve got this humongous piece of lumber sticking out of your eye! It’s so big that it’s a marvel—not, it’s a miracle—that you can even see anything, much less a tiny splinter in another person’s eye.

EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES. NOBODY’S PERFECT. WE ALL MESS UP AT SOME TIME OR ANOTHER. No one of us is sinless. That’s just the facts of life.

1. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS BLINDS USWe’re so prone to see everyone’s faults or problems, but not our own. That, I believe, is the first lesson Jesus wants to teach us in relation to judging others. We’re quick to judge because we see what’s wrong with others. But the problem is we don’t see what’s wrong with us.

Note Jesus’ words in verse 3, But you don’t consider the beam that’s in your eye. To consider means to take note or notice of; being oblivious, unmindful, or forgetful; you just don’t see what’s wrong with yourself. You’re so good at noticing what’s wrong with others, but you yourself forget that there’s something wrong with you. As far as you’re concerned there’s nothing wrong with you. And that’s the problem. There is something very wrong with you, but you just don’t see it. In Jesus’ words, you don’t consider the fact that you’ve also got something in your eye.

Self-righteousness blinds you from seeing the true state of things. It blinds you from seeing things clearly or as truly as they are. You think you’re okay, you’re alright, you’re sinless, innocent, perfect, and righteous. You haven’t done anything wrong. What you don’t know is, you’re none of the above. You’re blind to your own faults. You’re not considering that you too have got a problem in your eye.

2. WE’VE GOT THE BIGGER, MORE SERIOUS, PROBLEM.  Even though we’re not apt to see it or admit it, both we and the person we’re judging have the same problem. We both have something in our eye.

Note that a splinter and a beam are made of the same material. They’re both a piece of wood. The only difference between them is size.

Both you and the person you’re judging have a piece of wood in your eyes. Both of you have the same problem. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE PERSON YOU’RE JUDGING IS YOU’VE GOT THE BIGGER PROBLEM! Your brother has a splinter in his eye, but you’ve got a massive piece of lumber in yours! Your problem is a whole lot bigger. And the very size of your problem renders you unable to see clearly. YOU CAN’T JUDGE FAIRLY WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE CLEARLY.

3. OUR HYPOCRISY MAKES US WRONG AND UNQUALIFIED TO JUDGE. When we have something majorly massive in our eye, and yet quibble about the splinter in people’s eye, the very act of quibbling, fault-finding, criticizing, judging, and condemning makes us hypocrites. That’s what Jesus calls us in Matthew 7:5. Hypocrites.

Why are we hypocrites? Because we’re judging a person who has something in his eye when we ourselves have the same thing in our eye, except much bigger. We judge a person for a sin she’s committed when we ourselves have committed the same sin. We’re guilty of doing the same thing that we condemn others for doing.

Romans 2:1-3 speaks along this same line of hypocrisy. No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.  (2)  We know that God’s judgment is right when he condemns people for doing these things.  (3)  When you judge people for doing these things but then do them yourself, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

The principle is this. IF YOU’RE GUILTY, OR HAVE EVER BEEN GUILTY, OF DOING WHAT YOU’RE JUDGING OTHER PEOPLE FOR DOING, THEN YOU’RE REALLY IN NO POSITION TO JUDGE. You’re judging self-righteously and hypocritically. You’re a hypocrite. And a hypocrite isn’t a judge. A hypocrite is disqualified from being a judge.

You see, both you and the person you’re judging have done the same thing. Both of you have the same piece of wood in your eye. You judge others but not yourself. You condemn others but not yourself. You publicize other people’s sins, but not your own. YOU’RE PARTIAL AND PREFERENTIAL IN YOUR JUDGMENT AND THIS IS WHAT DISQUALIFIES YOU FROM BEING A JUDGE. A judge who’s partial is no judge.  

You’re not only partial and preferential in your judgment, but YOU’RE ALSO UNJUST AND UNFAIR. You’re judging by different standards. You’ve got one standard of judgment, guilt, and death for others and another standard of innocence, forgiveness, and life for yourself. Instead of everybody getting judged by the one and the same law, there are different laws, standards, and judgments for different persons. And that’s not justice!

We’re all agreed. A PARTIAL, UNFAIR, AND UNJUST JUDGE SHOULDN’T BE A JUDGE. He should be removed from the bench. That’s why we shouldn’t judge anyone. We’re partial, unfair, and unjust. We may not consider it. We may not admit it. But we are. That’s why we shouldn’t judge period.

Coming up on my next blog post in this series, a third kind of judging that God doesn’t want us to do. It’s an eye-opener and you really don’t want to miss it if you want to see clearly.

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