In Jesus' Sermon the Mount he admonishes to his disciples not to judge and gives them this illustration.
“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.
This scripture has often been misused and misinterpreted, so I would like to give some disclaimers before I even get too far in this blog. This scripture does not mean a full or universal approval of every action, lifestyle, speech or conduct. In this same sermon, Jesus reminds us that we should examine our lives and others' lives by the fruit that comes out it, so that does take some matter of judgement or discernment against a standard. However, we as believers are called to unconditional love, even in the midst of conditional approval. For example, a parent should love their child no matter what, even if they don't approve of their child living a life of crime, lying, etc. While there is no Christian mandate against examining the lives of others, often the harshness with which it is delivered, IS ungodly.
Pastor David Guzik, writes,
· We break this command when we think the worst of others.
· We break this command when we only speak to others of their faults.
· We break this command when we judge an entire life only by its worst moments.
· We break this command when we judge the hidden motives of others.
· We break this command when we judge others without considering ourselves in their same circumstances.
· We break this command when we judge others without being mindful that we ourselves will be judged.
So the reminder in verses 1-2 is that we shouldn't examine others by a standard that we ourselves would be uncomfortable being examined by. We all should have a standard for living, which should be found in God's word and NOT in the shifting standards of this world. But with all of that said, I shouldn't recommend that someone pay a fine of $10K for something that if I did the exact same thing, I wouldn't want that penalty for myself. This becomes motivation for the believer to become more forgiving, gracious, merciful, loving and good towards one another, which will always reflect the heart of God.
So with those disclaimers laid out on the table, marriage has often brought me back to this scripture. I am reminded that before I focus on what needs to be fixed and refined within my husband, I should always be looking at myself. This doesn't excuse the speck in my husband's eye... it's there. He's an imperfect human being like us all. But, what it does do is challenge me to look within and realize that I may be accusing him of something without realizing the many ways I also display that behavior, or other sinful behaviors. I can't truly even help him, until I remove what is obscuring my own vision. So as we move towards 20/20 vision spiritually, let's in humility take the huge plank out our eyes, and with love, mercy, forgiveness and grace, help our brothers and sisters with their specks.