When we read the Bible and come to the passage that says Christians are not to judge others but to discern the truth we sometimes fail to understand what it means.
Matthew 7:1-5 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “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? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
In the above verse, Jesus tells us to look at our own sins and shortcomings before we get into the business of judging others. The Bible tells us we are to confront others’ sins with truth and love with respect.
Some people use this verse as a “shield for sin,” to keep others at bay so that they can continue to live a life without any moral boundaries or accountability.
But when we read this verse carefully we can see that it can’t be used to allow immoral living because when Jesus spoke those words He was not advocating a hands-off approach to moral accountability.
In the verse, Jesus was openly rebuking the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who always quickly pointed out the sins of others but were blind and unwilling to hold themselves accountable for their own behavior.
In Matthew 7:1, we can read where Jesus teaches about living life faithfully as a committed follower of Christ, one who pursues holiness out of reverence for God.
Jesus is proclaiming a high moral standard that is consistent with what it means to live as a citizen of the kingdom of God.
Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for impossible man-made standards as they were notorious for condemning the shortcomings of others while continuing to do the same sins.
Jesus said that the measuring stick they used to measure the lives of others will be the same measuring stick held up against their lives by God himself.
The hypocrite will be the one with the bigger problem as his sin was like a a wooden plank and not a speck of dust.
Greater judgment is reserved for the one who has purposefully overlooked his own sin while pointing out the smaller sins of others.
Jesus does not say that we must hold others accountable, and doesn’t condemn mutual accountability and moral responsibility, and the need to address sin in the church.
What we understand from the teaching given by Jesus is that we must not be quick to judge a Christian brother or sister about their specific sin if we are committing the very same sin and don’t want to address it or break free from it.