The Log and The Speck - As Seen On Sunday
We confess that often we allow your son's righteousness to go to our heads and become pride, despite it not being our own righteousness.
We confess this to you
we ask you to reminds us that it is His righteousness that blankets us.
We are in a collection Jesus’ teachings. Coming before our passage today, there are the Beatitudes, the Woes, and Love your Enemies. Today we are going to hit a great verse “Judge not and you will not be judged.”
So we are all good, right? Can we go home? I won't judge you and you won’t me and we are all happy. I guess we all know it doesn't actually work that way. In fact, that one line turns into “judge not” and that's not even the whole verse. Verse 37 says “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”
This is not a verse that is to be used as a defence but a verse that looks at our own hearts.
Jesus goes from the “love your enemies” passage right into not judging. So following this, even sinners do good to those who do good to them, but it takes a God empowered person to not judge or condiment but freely forgive.
Our enemies are those who we would want to judge and condemn. It is not easy to forgive an enemy. The NASB says Pardon instead of forgive, following this idea of court: judge, condemn, and pardon. I think we are called to pardon. We have in Matthew 6:15 that if we do not forgive we will not be forgiven. John 20:23 says that if we forgive anyone's sins they will be forgiven The verse before literally is “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
So far this has definitely been in line with the golden rule and the idea of reaping what you sow. This has only been on one verse! what's the rest say?
38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
This seems to imply that beyond reaping what you sow to the point that you receive back contingently based on how much you did or gave. This is a mighty promise. Of course, that is another part that people put all their focus on and this miss the whole message that these actions reflect back on our hearts and forgets that we are all sinners who deserve death. Once we know what Jesus did for us, we seem to make it into a pride thing anyway. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that it is “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” We must not forget that the wages of Sin is death so if we reaped the ultimate outcome of what we sowed it wouldn’t be our idea of what we think we should be getting “Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” Remember it is God that is the one who judges the hearts of men.
The Bible is full of marks of righteousness. I’m not seeing loving our enemies, not judging, not condemning, pardoning, and giving as works that give us righteousness, but marks that Christ’s righteousness is placed on us.
Jesus tells many illustrative stories that we call parables. Some of them are in-depth stories, some of them are short. Jesus gives us 3 short parables that put all of the preceding into perspective.
39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
They all deal with pride. Pride clouds one’s ability to see clearly. In this first case, literally, it is the blind leading the blind. Everyone will eventually see that this man is not righteous because he leads others in the wrong direction, both ending up in the pit.
Pride makes a student believe he is better than his teacher. In the ancient world, the student was successful when they could write in the voice of the teacher. Theres a bunch of Greek philosophers that all we know about their philosophy comes from what their students wrote in defence of their teacher. The idea is that the student becomes like the teacher. Jesus was telling the disciples that they needed to continue to become like Him.
This last one demonstrates judging and condemning as sinful people. Again it is pride that makes us want to fix other people while we have a log in our own eye compared to the speck in theirs. This hypocrisy is what keeps people from seeing the speck. A non-christian can see past a speck but see a log protruding from a Christian's eye. This actually says brother which makes us think about disparaging other “brothers in Christ” when we still have a log.
So is this a ‘get out of jail free card’ since we are all sinful and so we can just tell others not to judge? No.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Our passage today reminds us of the courtroom outcome of our own trial without Christ. It reminds us that righteousness is not merely these actions faked, but the heart from which these actions flow, made possible by Jesus.
We cannot spurn righteousness and be relegated to the blind leading the blind. We must continue to become more like our teacher. We cannot focus so much on a speck that our own log becomes a laughing-stalk when God is the one who judges the heart.
I’ll end with this, for such a wrathful and judgmental God, He sure goes through a lot of trouble to forgive, pardon, and have mercy on people that are guilty.
Thought from the Sunday discussion:
Should we be seeking to limit our own judgment when that is what causes change in ourselves?