1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
A few thoughts for meditation:
In this next section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed how we should confront one another (especially fellow believers) about our faults. The basic principle is given in vs. 1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” This is probably the most quoted and misquoted Bible verse in our culture right now. Many think that it means “don’t be judgmental” or “mind your own business”. That is not what Jesus said at all. He explained exactly what he meant in the following verses.
Jesus was confronting the problem of self-righteous attitudes toward others, confronting their sins as if you had none yourself. He continued to confront the problem of pride and hypocrisy which he addressed in the previous chapter. The attitude with which you judge others will be used against you. That does not mean you remain silent when your brother has a problem. That is not a loving thing to do either, is it? Why let your brother suffer needless without any warning? But it does mean you must confront him in humility, aware of your own faults as well. You approach him as a fellow patient on the road to recovery, not as an unstained superior correcting a stupid inferior. Jesus used a comical picture to explain this, trying to remove a speck from your brother’s eye, while you have a log in your own eye. Removing a speck from someone’s eye requires a delicate and patient touch to avoid damaging the sensitive eye. And it’s near impossible to do if you are blinded by a log in your own eye. You must remove the log from your eye so you can then “see clearly” to remove the speck from your brother’s. So again, Jesus is not at all saying you can never confront or “judge” someone for their faults, but must do so after first taking into account your own faults and struggles and letting your own struggles with sin moderate your attitude and tone towards your brother. Very often, those who are the most critical of “judgmental people” are themselves the most judgmental and most careless with their words as they “say it like it is”. Confronting someone requires humility, patience, tact, and wisdom. It requires a sincere desire for their good. Sometimes blunt forceful correction is needed in an urgent situation. But most often, patient and calm conversation is better. We must pray for wisdom to know how best to approach every situation.
Jesus finished with a final warning about this need for wisdom when confronting others. Good advice and sincere concern can be rejected if not applied at the right time. People must be in a receptive posture. “Dogs” or “pigs” were not considered domestic animals or pets in the ancient world like they are today. They were usually considered wild and vicious animals. If someone is acting like a dog or pig in the moment, your “pearl” will be trampled and ignored and they may even retaliate against you. Timing is important when we try to remove the speck from another’s eye. Some people are receptive to correction from God’s Word, others are not. The idea Jesus is teaching here is the same idea taught in Proverbs 9:8, “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” Just because something needs to be said, does not mean it needs to be said “right now” or in the heat of a crisis moment. Again, wisdom is needed and must be asked for from the Father, wisdom not only in how to help our brother, but in how to remove the log from our own eye. What is your attitude when your brother confronts you? Are you patient and receptive? Or are you like a vicious dog or pig?