1996-06-27 - Judgment
Matt 7:1-5 Do not judge, lest you be judged.  For in the way that you judge, you shall be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your' brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold the log in your own eye?  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.
How often I catch myself sitting in judgment and forgetting that I am just as susceptible to the same temptation. The pride and hypocrisy seep and reek from the words or thoughts as they cross my lips and my mind. Can a Christian ever sit in judgment? Yes, but we must be mindful of the beam that we must deal with first. Once we acknowledge our own capacity to sin, how much more gentle our response will be to that brother or sister we wish to help. Without love, we are ringing gongs and clanging cymbals. With love, it is no longer judgment, but guidance and help. This is the measure that we all want to be judged by; grace, mercy and forgiveness. This is the measure we much learn to use.
Earlier this week I had an eyelash fall into my eye. I poked and fished to get it out. Finally I thought it had popped out. I was wrong, it had slipped down into my lower eyelid. In the morning I woke and found my eye irritated slightly and decided that it was just residual from the poking I had done to extract the eyelash the evening before. Then I went to work. I had system maintenance to do that night, so by the time I was headed home at 12:30am or so, my eye was puffy, red and sore. I got home and found a mirror. When I was able to gently pull back the tender lower eyelid, I could clearly see the bleached eyelash stuck to the inside of the eyelid. At that point, it was a simple matter to remove the lash.
Relief was immediate, but not complete. This is so much like sin in our lives. It was utterly amazing that something so very small could cause so much pain. Once it is removed, once we turn our backs on it, the relief is stunning. But complete relief from the effects of that sin may linger. A day later, my eye is still red and a little tender, but much improved. Another thought that came to my mind was that, like my irritated eye, the person who is in sin is already in pain. In their hearts, they often know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are committing sin. Someone coming to them with the beam in their eye, no compassion or realization of their own capacity to be in the other's place, will not be tender to this person's existing pain, and will be a further irritant. Certainly, there are times when a further injury must be made to correct the problem; pain must be inflicted as in surgery. But these occurrences are the exception rather than the rule. In the other light, a person coming with a gentle spirit to that one, will be a soothing ointment and open gate to the path that leads back away from sin.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your provision to save us from all the sins that we commit. Help us to be ever mindful that we are still fallible and capable of terrible deeds against You and those around us. With that knowledge to soften our hearts to those who are caught in sin, we may be lights on the shore to lead them home to You and your restoring grace and mercy. Teach us to be mirrors of that light that You have wonderfully displayed to us. Guard our hearts and minds. Amen.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.