WEEK 9: Judge Your Heart
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven… 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, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:37 and 41-42, NIV)
It is so easy for us as Christians to judge or criticise other people, because throughout the Bible we are taught what is right and what is wrong. From Genesis to Revelation, we are guided as to what is good and what is bad, what is honourable and what is shameful, what is right and what is wrong.
It is normal for us to recognise the ‘right’ things people do and the ‘wrong’ things people do, because the Scriptures teach us to differentiate between right and wrong, but it is also the same Bible that tells us not to judge. So what is important is what happens in my heart when I see someone doing something wrong. With what emotion in your heart do you ‘evaluate’ a person’s actions?
This will determine whether you have sympathy, understanding and ultimately forgiveness for the person concerned, or whether you are merely judging him or her. The reality is that we are all sinful people and we will continue to sin and make mistakes until the day we die. If we recognise this, then we should already have more understanding for our fellow man and woman when they sin.
We all have ‘planks’ in our eyes that we need to deal with, and occasionally we get to see a splinter of the plank that our neighbour is dealing with in his or her life. When we see this, let it remind us of our own planks we have had to deal with in the past, and also are currently dealing with. May it bring us to a point where we look upon our neighbour with sympathy and understanding, instead of mere judgement.