Jesus used hyperbole to teach us why Christians shouldn’t judge others. So what is the world getting wrong when it reminds us of this verse?
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
Jesus used an absurd, almost comical analogy here to show us why Christians shouldn’t judge others.
Imagine straining to see a small speck in someone else’s eye, leaning in close, trying to remove it. Every time you tilt your head to get a better look, you smack the other person upside their head with the huge stick of wood lodged in your own eye.
As the saying goes, it would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Christians Have No Right to Judge Others
Christians shouldn’t judge others, telling them their faults. Doing so elevates us over other people, when we ourselves are far from perfect.
Even if we are 100% correct in our judgement, we are in the wrong. Exposing another person’s sins for the sake of pointing out how wrong they are is unloving.
We need to remember that as disciples living our faith openly, we are to love everyone – fellow disciples, our neighbors, even our enemies (Galatians 5:14).
A Christian focused on loving others is less likely to judge others.
Christians shouldn’t judge others because it causes personal damage to our relationships, as well as to our representation of Jesus as His disciples.
“I don’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites” is an answer some people give for not putting their trust in Christ or for leaving the church. It can be tempting as a believer to attempt cleverness and agree that we are all hypocrites, but this is only a type of false humility.
Christians Should Only Confront Others in Loving Ways
So is there ever a time to confront another person?
Yes, there are times when we are called on to confront others. There are two important distinctions to consider between confronting vs. judging others.
First, the relationships we are called on to confront are within the Body of Christ, not outside of it. And second, it is not for the purpose of upbraiding someone, but for reconciliation.
The sober activity of confronting a fellow believer who has wronged us should be done with love and the hope of restoration. The purpose of tackling grievances is to address the behavior.
But again, that is confronting with a purpose within the Body of Christ. It reconfirms that Christians shouldn’t judge others.
When the World Tells Us Not to Judge
The world is fond of using this verse against believers. There is a reason.
When an unbeliever confronts a follower of Christ with today’s passage, what they are really saying deep down is, “Who are you to tell me I’m not a good person?” They do not understand that no person is “always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Whether they realize it or not, as God’s creation something inside them wants to be absolved for their wrongdoings. The difference is, an unbeliever only wants justification. On their own, they don’t understand nor agree with their need for repentance.
This is an extreme simplification of the layers of self-justification a person can have. At the simplest level, an unbeliever does not want to have to be justified outside themselves.
This is why it is illogical to focus only on an unbeliever’s sin and expect that to result in good. If we confront sin in an unbeliever’s life without connecting it to a full explanation of the gospel – including repentance – we are only judging them.
We move into hypocrisy when we focus on convicting an unbeliever of their sins, because we are sinners ourselves. The only difference is we have been justified before God, only made possible through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
Only the Holy Spirit can truly convict a person of their sin. So, our job is to introduce unbelievers to Jesus Christ.
Then, as they are drawn to Christ, we can help them understand who Christ is and why He came. Only then can the unbeliever begin to see how their sin impacts them and consider the response Christ calls us to.
This is another reason why Christians shouldn’t judge others; rather than judging people, we need to keep the doors wide open to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
More verses showing us Christians shouldn’t judge others:
Proverbs 11:9; Romans 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Galatians 6:3-5; Colossians 3:12-15; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; James 3:7-13