Again, he will utilize some natural visuals to teach about judging others. So, let's sit by Jesus on the mount and hear what He has to say about judging...
“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.
Wow! These seem to be some pretty stern words coming from Jesus. I am more than willing to bet that there were some Pharisees standing nearby. And, I would be willing to bet that on several occasions Jesus made intentional eye contact with them. After all, it were the religious people that were the best at judging and misjudging others. And sadly, I think religious people today can be good at it too.
Now, we may say to ourselves, "well I don't judge people". And, if you never do, then I truly applaud you. But, I'm willing to bet that we are all guilty of judging others at some point or another.
The way someone is dressed. The way someone may look. What someone believes. Someone's political views. Someone's socio-economic status. Someone's behavior. Someone's music taste. Someone's weight. Someone's low test score. What college someone may go to. A teacher. A less popular student. A lesser academic student. A lesser athlete. What church someone may go to. Someone not being "Christian" enough. Non-believers. Muslims. Someone's nose or ears. Someone's toes. Her hair. Oh, those Freshmen/9th graders.
I think we're all guilty of this. I know I am.
Jesus uses the word "plank" to illustrate the amount of junk we may have in our own life. Some translations use the word "log". I imagine Jesus pointed to a log in their midst to fathom the size of the issues we each have to deal with in our own lives before comparing ourselves to others. Does this mean we as followers of Jesus have more problems and issues than all others? No. It means that we will never be in a righteousness enough position to begin judging others. A follower of Jesus is humble, meek, and loving. Not arrogant, puffed up, and judgmental.
Now, I want to digress here for a minute. Because this passage does talk about the need for judgment. There will be times in our lives that we will need to make judgments. This may require we reach out to help another person with a trouble, issue, or sin that he/she is dealing with. But, we must be very careful to make sure we are not being hypocritical in that we are not participating in the same thing the other person is doing. It's worth noting, that Jesus uses the word "brother" in verse 5, which implies that we are at times needing to do this only with fellow believers. But, almost always this is done within the proper context of the church environment. It takes great humility and grace to help another person who may be struggling with some sort of sin. Even more so, prayer and seeking the Lord's will and His guidance on the matter, void of any personal agendas, must be sought prior to doing so.
So, there are a few things I think we can deduce from this.
1) To not critically judge others wrongly.
2) If we must judge, only another believer, and only with a pure and clean heart void of our own sins and agenda. And done within a biblical context.
3) Be assured, you too will be judged accordingly with the same measure that you judge others.
Here is a funny video about making judgment calls too soon.