Time Alone With God daily devotional: Matthew 7:1-5

Time Alone With God daily devotional

Matthew  7:1-5

Judging Others
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For 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? 4 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? 5 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.

Consider: Christians often get uneasy with Jesus’ command, “Do not judge” (7:2). They fear the wrong kind of tolerance. They’re afraid that we will abandon the call to live a holy life if we don’t clearly label some acts as sinful. After all, how can we live, raise Christian children and grow in grace if we don’t judge what is right and what is wrong? So we need to understand what Jesus meant by the word “judge.”

In the original language of the New Testament, the word for “judge” here is the same word that Jesus used in John 3:17, which is usually translated “condemn”—“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” That gives us some insight into what Jesus meant when he commanded, “Do not judge.” Of course we will judge some actions to be right and some to be wrong. But Jesus is pretty clear that we are not to stand as condemners of any person.

Now, at this point, many Christians fall back on the old aphorism, “We hate the sin, but love the sinner.” I think we need to be careful with that one. While it is literally true, to most people that does not feel like a loving embrace. It still feels judgmental.

So, how are we to approach this whole issue of discerning and judging what is right and what is wrong? Jesus made it very clear. We spend more time on our own sins than on the sins of others. As Christians, we should be more concerned with how we can be more loving than how we can straighten out some other person.

“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.” (7:3-5)

When I am fully aware of my need for grace, I am empowered to give grace to others. When I realize my lack of love, I pray for help rather than focusing on your lack in some other area. This humility empowers me to love like Jesus, who did not come “into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world” (John 3:17).

Pray: Ask the Lord to help you with any planks that may be blocking your vision and your love. Praise him that he lovingly purifies us if we humbly come to him. Then ask him to help you plant the grace he’s given you in the lives of others.

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