Self-awareness: Jesus taught us to take a look at ourselves before judging others. *Photo supplied
Self-awareness: Jesus taught us to take a look at ourselves before judging others. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7: “What a jerk!”, “Who do they think they are?”, “She’s only doing that to get noticed!”, “If I were that kid’s mother I’d…”, “Ignorant? Let me tell you about ignorant…!”.

Matthew 7:1-5:
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.

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? 

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

If we judge others, He said, then we too will be judged. 

As we dish out so we will receive. Jesus also warned of the danger of judging people by questioning their motives and putting them in a box. 

People naturally do this all the time. We look at others who get recognition or attention and immediately we entertain unhealthy thoughts regarding their ulterior motives.

This passage can be applied in the church, but also in friendships, families and especially marriages. 

So often we have a tendency to see what is wrong with the other person instead of seeing what is wrong with us. 

We have a tendency to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. Jesus stated that we should not be so eager to take the speck of sawdust from the eye of another while avoiding acknowledging the much larger piece of wood that obscures our vision.

Isn’t it amazing how we can detect the smallest defect in someone else’s character while being unable to notice our own offensive idiosyncrasies?

Note that Jesus made it clear that we are not to ignore the speck that we see in the eye of those we love or are concerned about, but we need to remove it in the right way.

The process begins by taking the obvious plank out of your own eye. 

Perhaps you’ve no idea that for years your vision has been distorted because you’re seeing life through a plank of jealousy, entitlement, racism, greed, insecurities, or opinions and habits learned from older generations. 

Before you can clarify the vision of your brother or sister you need to see clearly, stop being a hypocrite and practice what you preach. 

You cannot pick out areas where others need to grow when you are not applying God’s Word yourself. 

Once you humbly deal with your issue then you can help someone deal with his or hers.

The process is like teaching someone how to ride a bike: First you acquire and apply the principles of riding, then you can instruct based on your experience.

If you’ve never taken the time to learn to ride yourself you’ve missed the first step.

About two years ago I took up snowboarding. Although I knew how to ski I had to humbly admit to my instructor that I have never snowboarded before.

I needed her help. I needed help getting strapped to the board, getting up, and even how to turn.  I started in the morning and by lunchtime I wanted to quit.

“Well,” she said, “You’ve paid for a full day lesson. If you quit we won’t be able to give you any of your money back.” 

Frustrated, tired and sore, I consented to continue after lunch.

I was so glad I did. I mastered turning and snowboarded down the hill on my own without falling. 

The next year I took my nephew snowboarding. The only way I could give him tips was because I’d humbled myself and applied the basic snowboarding principles myself. 

Can you imagine if I tried to give him advice on how to snowboard if I had never tried it?  He’d have said, “Well how do you know?  You don’t snowboard!”  And he’d be correct.

It takes humility and hard work to get that plank out of your eye, and it takes determination, patience and perseverance too.

Remember that a plank has two ends. While you grab one end, no matter what its weight or substance — be it a plank of pride, worry, being untrustworthy or morally impure — Jesus will have the other.

Humble yourself and ask Him for help. Take the time to rid yourself of it and don’t give up halfway through because it seems too hard. 

Once it is out, you will be able to see clearly and help others with their specks.

The next time you catch yourself starting to judge another, remember…  People cannot hear your corrections when your plank is talking so loud.

Gary C Simons serves as the senior pastor of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship, presently meeting at CedarBridge Academy each Sunday at 10am.