In Matthew 7, Jesus continues his sermon on the mount with a section on judging. In verse one, Jesus states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Out of all the passages that we have looked at in this series, this is likely the one that is most commonly used. Often, this particular passage is seen as a “get out of jail free card,” essentially stating that, as long as I don’t judge you for your actions, you can’t judge me.
The key point here is that this wasn’t the intent of Jesus, and it certainly wasn’t how the disciples would have understood this. The concept of being judged for our actions isn’t new and is used throughout Scripture. Paul talks about this very sentiment in Romans and 1 Corinthians.
But what makes this sectiondifferent is how Jesus explains his point. Jesus uses a parable to convey how dangerous judging others can be. In verse 3, Jesus states, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay not attention to the plank in your own eye?” This is intended to be ridiculous and silly, and the crowd would have certainly laughed at the thought of someone walking around with a plank in their own eye.
The humorous element of this parable can potentially shield us from the intent; Jesus is saying that when it comes to judging people, we may be the problem. Ouch. When that sets in, it can really force us to think about our actions and specifically how we view other people. Jesus is asking us to think about the fact that, instead of examining ourselves, we are willing to point out these minor missteps in someone else’s life – missteps that are at times as insignificant as a speck of sawdust.