Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday April 10, 2014 Matthew 7:1-6

1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:1-6 NKJV)l

What makes this passage tricky is the fact that the word judgement has two main meanings. One is to discern, or seek the truth of something while the other is to  pass sentence on or condemn. The Greek word used here also has the double meaning of discernment and condemnation. This passage is often tossed out to imply that it is wrong to judge anyone's actions. I don't believe that was the intention at all. While it would be easy to take this passage to mean simply that we are never to judge anyone but ourselves, the seeming odd admonition of verse 6 lets us know that while we are not to cast judgement, we are indeed called to use judgement and encourage each other in our journey toward spiritual maturity.

I believe that what Jesus is addressing here is the fact that in our natural human state, it is far easier to see another person's sin, or weakness, however small (a mere speck) than our own. Why? Well, perhaps the main wage of sin is that by it's very nature it separates us from God and thus from righteousness. If we are not striving to remove sin from our own life (a plank) we cannot expect to hear clearly from God. Thus we cannot expect to execute  good judgement (see clearly) in matters pertaining to others. Verse 5 tells us to FIRST remove the plank from our own eye,THEN, seeing clearly, to remove the speck from our brother's eye. In both cases the sin is to be removed, not left to fester and grow causing further separation from God. The goal for both self and brother is healing and restoration, not staying in the same place of sin and separation. Clearly though, before dealing with others we are to deal with ourselves. Jesus never wants to lose anyone in a place of sin, indeed he died to prevent that. I am reminded of the story of the adulterous woman in John 8 where Jesus tells the crowd "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." After the accusers are gone, however, and assuring the woman that he also does not condemn her, he admonishes her to "go and sin no more". He does not excuse her behavior nor leave her in a place of sin. Rather,he asks her to repent of it so she can move forward. He speaks the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and we are called to do the same, but not before examining ourselves, repenting of our own sin,  and using righteous judgement. Verse2 tells us that the judgement we use will be used on us, and in the same measure, so it behooves us to be sure we are judging rightly, or not at all as verse 1 suggests.

Finally, we come to verse 6 which at first glance might seem not to be part of this  section. Dogs and pigs, in the culture of the time were both considered unclean, and thus unholy creatures. So to give what is holy to an unholy creature like a dog would make no more sense than to put pearls on a pig. Indeed given the nature of both creatures, one could expect to be trampled or torn to pieces for dealing with them. I believe Jesus is telling us here that we are to also use good judgement to discern where our efforts should be applied, in order not to waste precious resources.
--Tracy Moore

1 comment:

neffryan1 said...

Tracy, that was a really good interpretation of the scripture. You hit all the points and I totally agree with all you said.