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The Plank in Our Eyes.


In our daily meditations, we examine what Jesus taught His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. In chapter 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord continues to address our heart issues by bringing up criticism, one of the most damaging things to a person’s self-esteem. Have you ever been on the end of harsh judgementalism? Criticism can crush a person’s spirit. I remember starting as a young person in my early twenties, just learning to preach and teach the Word of God. I had an influential person in my life who, after he had heard me preach a couple of times, told me that I should give up trying to preach because I was no good at it. Those words crushed me at the time! A person who experiences that kind of judgment can do one of two things. Either he can completely abandon any thoughts of carrying on in ministry, or he can respond by getting better at whatever God is calling him to do. I said to myself, if I am not good at communicating the Word of God, I am going to work hard at it so that I have something interesting and upbuilding to say. Now and again, those words come back to me, encouraging me not to rest on the things I have learned and the wisdom I have gained but to fulfill God’s call to do everything I can to go into the world and preach good news to those who will hear. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had words to say about being careful in our judging of others:


“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3“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? 4How 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? 5You 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. 6“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:1-6).


The word judge (v. 7) is from the Greek word, krino, from which we get the word critic. The root meaning of this word is to separate, but it can also mean to judge in a courtroom or to discern truth from error. Discerning truth from falsehood is something that we are meant to do and is essential to our discipleship. So, Jesus is not saying that we are never to make any judgments, as He goes on to say in verse 6, “Do not give dogs what is sacred.” We are not expected to turn a blind eye to error.


Paul the apostle taught his protégé, Timothy, not to lay hands on someone quickly (1 Timothy 5:22). In other words, not to give leadership authority too soon to up-and-coming leaders, but to try their character. All this requires leaders to make judgment calls about people. So what is Jesus getting at when He tells us not to judge? The fruiting on a branch goes through various stages before it should be plucked and eaten. Being a disciple of Christ means that we are to judge our brothers and sisters with a large heaping of grace rather than critique them at every stage of their growth. Give them room to grow in grace, reminding ourselves that the Master will judge us with the measure we have used in our lifetime.


You cannot go very far as a disciple if you cannot judge where people are coming from, but in your judgment, be careful not to judge according to what you see on the outside. Some of God's most outstanding leaders have grown up under terrible circumstances and have had little of this world's provisions or encouragement. In your growth as a disciple of the Lord Jesus, let your judgment be towards yourself first. Take the beam out of your own eye so that you can take the speck out of the eye of another. Be careful to listen to the correction of the Holy Spirit as He encourages changes in your thoughts and actions. New believers should take care to work on their own character before they can expect to speak into the lives of others or be leaders in God’s church. I still shudder to think where I would be today if I had listened to that influential person who advised me to give up teaching God’s Word. Keith Thomas


This meditation is from the complete study found at the following link:

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