Matthew 7:1-6 | Proverbs 9:7-8 | 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Get the logs out!
“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 7:5 NLT
Jesus has some harsh words (above) for people being critical. He calls them hypocrites–pretenders. Certainly, they can find enough fault in themselves to have some compassion for those they criticize.
Back up a few verses in the chapter, and you hit the oft-quoted, oft-misunderstood Matthew 7:1:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”Matthew 7:1 NLT
Jesus is not a fan of getting judgy. Of course, like anything, you can take this too far. Some people are all like, “Don’t judge me!” when they could probably use some correction. But be careful…
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.Proverbs 9:7-8 NLT
Some people don’t take well to being corrected. They are clearly not wise. Are you?
If you are, you may have read the second verse of Matthew 7.
“For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”Matthew 7:2 NLT
As you may have already learned, Jesus has cut you some serious slack. You have been dished out a king’s portion of grace and understanding, and He wants you to slice it up and pass it around.
Paul offers a great “do” to go with that judgy “don’t”.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
Don’t get out your magnifying glass and pore over everybody else’s misgivings. Do encourage your fellow believers and build them up!
And if you have to point out faults, Jesus reminds you to consider your audience…
“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”Matthew 7:6 NLT
Questions for Group Discussion
- How do you take correction? Are you wise enough to see it as correction, or does it come across as criticism?
- What is the difference between correction and criticism? Or are they really the same thing?
- How can you tell if you’re being too critical? Is there an acceptable amount? When do you become the hypocrite that Jesus called out?
Challenge: You Be the Judge
Like ironic assignments? Then you’ll love this one!
For this challenge, you are required to use your judgment. You will also be required to do some critical thinking. This means you will need to analyze what you read, do a fair assessment of it, then draw a conclusion based on that analysis and assessment.
What to do:
- Choose a person who is prominent in the media as an influencer of culture, thought leader, etc. They may be called “an agent of change”, the “champion” of a particular cause, or even “a shining light” in their field.
- Read as many direct quotes from them as you can. These may come from interviews or their published writings. If they come from video or audio recordings, try to work from transcripts–so you get their words right and avoid paraphrasing.
- Answer these questions, based on their exact words:
- What assumptions are they making–about you (as their audience), about the world, about God, about people?
- What biases might they have, and why?
- What do you think they are trying to accomplish, and is it the same as what they say they are trying to accomplish?
- How do their goals align with scripture?
- Repeat this process for at least one other prominent personality.
- Pray: that God would use these people for his purposes, that He would give you discernment and good judgment, and thank him for his boundless grace.