Don’t Judge – The Hypocrisy of Judgmentalism - Matthew 7:1-6, Part 2

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As Christians God has called us to live our lives alongside one another. We are instructed to serve one another, pray for one another, encourage one another and work together for the sake of the Gospel. But of course, we are sinners and so this life together is not always easy.

One of the sins that often creeps in and divides us is the sin of judgmentalism. We are prone to self-righteousness and pride and we are often tempted to be critical, condemning and harsh toward one another. To further complicate matters, often we excuse our behaviors under the guise of helping a brother or sister who is in sin.

Thankfully, Jesus has gone to great lengths to help us see our sin and teach us how to rightly serve one another. As we continue our look at Matthew 7:1-6 Jesus warns us against hypocrisy. He shows us the difference between self-righteous judgmentalism and God-honoring accountability. He shows us the difference between sinfully judging and lovingly confronting or correcting a brother or sister. He calls us to love and to avoid the pain that comes when we fail to walk in love (Galatians 5:13-15).

Context – The Sermon on the Mount

It’s important to remember that this well-known passage lives within a context. Jesus has been telling His people what it means to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God. While there were many who claimed to be the people of God, religious hypocrisy was rampant.

After instructing us on how to avoid hypocrisy and live with true hearts before God, this passage seems fitting and timely. Jesus is helping us know how to interact with others in a way that pleases God.

A Vivid Metaphor – Logs and Specks

In order to teach us Jesus uses powerful imagery. He describes sin as something being stuck in a person’s eye – something that keeps them from seeing clearly. The problem, however, is that often we are quick to see something in someone else’s eye before we consider what’s in our own – even if what’s in our own eye is much larger.

Jesus uses this imagery to show us the deceitfulness of sin – judgmentalism in particular. Often our own sense of self-righteousness is like a log in our eye. We are quick to see the speck in another person’s eye, but slow to see and confess our own sin.

Log Removal – A warning against hypocrisy (7:3-5)

  • The deceitfulness and blinding nature of judgmentalism (v.3-4) – We are often blinded by our own sin. It’s common for us to overlook our own sins and be quick to see the sins of others. But judgmentalism has a unique way of distorting our vision. It blinds us to our own pride and need for mercy and highlights the faults of others. It’s like a log that we ignore, all the while seeing another person’s speck.
  • We guard ourselves against hypocrisy by examining and dealing with our heart first (v. 5) – It’s true that God has called us to help one another. We are called to go and help our brother or sister who is caught in sin. But first, we must check the condition and motivation of our own hearts. Do we truly desire to serve, or is this a way of showing our own righteousness? Before you go and try to help your brother get that speck out of his eye, check that you don’t have log in your own.

Speck Removal – The work of restoration (7:5) 

  • Our responsibility – As brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to correct, admonish and restore those who are in sin. But before we go, we must check our own eyes for logs. Once we have done that work, we should be eager to help those who are caught in sin.
  • The gentle and careful work of speck removal – The metaphor that Jesus uses continues to be helpful because there aren’t many parts of our bodies that are more sensitive than our eyes. Eye work must be gentle and careful work. In the same way, the Bible tells us that we are to do the work of spiritual restoration with gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
  • Application – We should have a hatred for sin and a love for the truth, but neither of these can be excuses for being harsh or unloving. We must remember that restoration isn’t meant to push others down, it’s meant to build them back up. Gentle restoration isn’t hurried or harsh, it’s patient and persevering, and done in love. 

A word of disclaimer – Recognizing when to let a person go (7:6)

  • The context continues – While it may seem that verse 6 is unrelated to verses 1-5, it actually serves to broaden and clarify Christ’s teaching on judgementalism and shows us that there are in fact times when careful discernment is needed.
  • Understanding the metaphors – Using the imagery of dogs and pigs, which were seen as scavengers and pests, Jesus teaches that there are some who when they are confronted with the truth will reject it, trample on it and attack the one who presented it. In some cases, there does come a point when we are to leave that person to their sin and trust that we’ve done all we can do (Mt. 10:14-15; Acts 18:5-7; Tit. 3:9-11).