JESUS STRAIGHT TALK – Judgment Is a Tough Measuring Stick
Matthew 7:1-6 (p. 679) April 23, 2017
When Jesus says, “Do not judge or you too will be judged,” it’s important to understand what He meant.
Look at the context of where this takes place. Jesus is saying, before you become someone else’s moral monitor, monitor yourself.
Jesus Straight Talk is “You hypocrite, just take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (v. 5)
But it’s a human tendency to not want to see our sin…to not want to examine our own “telephone poles” in the eye issues. It’s a lot more pleasing to our egos to sit at McDonald’s or talk on the phone about others sins.
Jesus isn’t saying, “Stop recognizing what is right and what is wrong. He’s not saying, “God’s command don’t matter.”
What He is saying is: “Don’t become the harsh judge of others sins…that’s not your place.
I. THE MEASURING STICK YOU USE TO JUDGE OTHERS WILL BE USED TO MEASURE YOU
Harriet, the church gossip, and self appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She emphatically told George and several others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Harriet’s house…and left it there all night.
Harriet discovered a judgmental, fault finding heart can be a tough measuring stick if equally applied.
And it’s so easy for this to happen isn’t it…to become the supervisor of everyone else’s morals. In this position we find other people’s faults and become harsh in our criticism of them. It’s entertaining to us. It makes us feel superior to them. We love having the information first…so we can share it with a condescending…“They need our prayers.”
Jesus told the crowds that followed Him and His disciples…The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you, BUT DO NOT DO WHAT THEY DO, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. (Matt. 23:2-4)
Two things can happen to religious people who know the Word of God…It can make us proud…loving to sit in Moses’ seat. We can express this knowledge with fervor. We talk about how people should live…and judge those who don’t measure up with gusto…not realizing we don’t measure up either.
Or we can look into the truth of God’s Word…see His perfect holiness and realize how sinful…how broken we really are…and it humbles you.
Remember this parable Jesus told:
LUKE 18:9-14 (p. 732)
How does the Pharisee exalt himself? He does it by comparing himself to someone more sinful, and by listing all the good things he’s done. And there’s a perfect example of someone who’s unworthy right in front of Him, a tax collector.
“God, I thank you I’m not like Him!”
But the tax collector knows his sin…it’s heavy on his heart…it casts his eyes to the floor while the Pharisee rolls his eyes at him…and as his heart beat with the conviction of his sin, he pounded his chest and cried: “O God forgive me, I’m such a sinner.”
And God forgave the tax collector…and the Pharisee struts home thankful he didn’t have to deal with the trash…but man he looked religious doing it.
Jesus, in Matthew Chapter 7, is talking about not being a person who claims the ability and the authority to sit in judgment of someone else. That place is reserved for God alone.
When Jesus mentions that the Pharisees teach the law so you should listen…he then says that put cumbersome burdens on people…it’s an expectation that unless they’re perfect they are unworthy…ironically it’s a measuring stick they themselves can’t measure up to. But the most powerful part of this passage of scripture is…“And they won’t lift a finger to help with the burden.” Basically Jesus is saying…they believe certain people are going to Hell…and they’re glad about it.
[I’ve got some gay friends and some committed Christian friends who struggle with the temptation of homosexuality. We’ve been friends for a long time…I don’t understand this temptation because it’s not something I struggle with…but they don’t struggle with my temptations either. I love them and they know it…we’ve worked together and served communities together. They know my convictions about sin and new life…but they also know I want what’s best for them. And they are still my friends.
Now contrast that with individuals from the Westboro Baptist Church…there is no love. Only condemnation and a hope that “homosexuals” burn in Hell.
It’s that heart that Jesus is speaking to when he says “Do not judge or you too will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
By the way…you don’t have to be part of some hate group to have that heart within you…it’s super easy to have that heart, but cover it with “good deeds” and “religious trappings.” And you walk away thirsty. “Thank God I don’t struggle with those sins like those people.”]
Now you tell me…which of those sins is a speck of sawdust and which one is a telephone pole?
Be careful of the measuring stick you use to gauge how big a sinner someone else is…because that same measuring stick is the one God’s gonna use to measure your sin.
We need to make sure we understand the plank that’s in our eye, should be dealt with before we worry about removing the sawdust in someone else’s eye. Jesus is hilarious here…because if you realize there’s a telephone pole in your eye, you probably don’t have time to notice the sawdust in your neighbor’s…and you’re going to need help moving something that big too.
Let me end today with a caution Jesus gives that requires judgment.
II. BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT GIVING IMPORTANT GIFTS TO DOGS AND PIGS
Let me tell you that two of the most disgusting animals in Jewish society were dogs and pigs. I’m sorry if you’re like me and love your little fur ball…and you think Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web was an “amazing pig.” Jews had no such view of dogs and pigs.”
So when Jesus says, “Don’t give dogs what is sacred…and don’t throw your pearls to pigs.”
People must have thought…Who’s He talking about…It’s a pretty insulting judgment to call someone a dog or a pig. These dogs were wild, feral, and vicious they battled the vultures for food…there was nothing loving and obedient about them and pigs are gluttons…They’ll eat anything and everything. A herd of swine will devour whatever is put before them as they stand in their own swill.
My dad told me this scripture means “Don’t spin your wheels, son.” And I think that’s part of what Jesus was saying. Don’t continuously give sacred and holy things to people who treat you terribly. People who smile while you’re preaching and then rip you apart at McDonalds or on the phone.
But I think there’s more to it…I love what Cher Williams wrote about in this passage in Inspired Woman Magazine (yeah…Don’t Judge Me…I read it online)
Discernment is crucial to a Christian’s walk with Christ. You must be able to discern between those who will edify you and those who will tear you into bits. The company you choose to keep has a significant impact on your life. Truth is found in the old adage birds of a feather flock together. Look at your flock, should you be flying with them or is it time to fly south? By nature many women want to please and are incredibly nurturing to the people in their life. This natural gift can be a blessing, but if given to the wrong person can be toxic to their wellbeing. I’ve known many women including myself who’ve given their pearls to the wrong person or activities and had to suffer painful periods of brokenness. When you encounter any situation or person, using a discernment from the Lord is the only way to know if you should be in that space. Don’t depend on yourself, depend on God to lead you in the right direction. Remember, everything that glitters isn’t gold. A situation or person may appear to have a nice wrapping but the contents leave little to be desired.
Here’s my loose paraphrase of Matthew 7:6: “Don’t continually give your most sacred, intimate and heartfelt gifts to those who treat them and you, like a dog or pig would. They will habitually hurt you and use you…and it will tear your soul to pieces…they will continually keep you under their feet.
Pray for them…pray God’s Holy Spirit will intervene…but get away…move on…Don’t spin your wheels, son!
Squarely in the middle of the resurrection chapter of the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul says, “Don’t be misled: Bad company corrupts good character…come back to your senses as you ought.”
There is a huge difference between having a judgmental, critical, Pharisaical heart, and using your common sense and the Holy Spirit’s discernment to know when you should get away from a pack of dogs and a herd of pigs.
I wouldn’t spend a lot of time in Harriet, the gossips group…who treat sacred things as entitlement and a weapon… “Those that gossip to you about someone else…will turn around and gossip about you to someone else.”
Or like the woman at the well who continually gave herself away in relationships with the hope of finding what she searched for…thirsted for…and she just ended up spiritually dehydrated…until Jesus says:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)
Both the dry hardened critical heart and the heart that has been torn to pieces by the dogs and pigs of this world need healing.
Jesus offers it to both right now.