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::Devotional:: ‘Judgmental Blindness’

March 26, 2010

Imagine a public service announcement on the dangers of smoking.  A popular celebrity is asked to do this 30 second spot to speak to young kids during Saturday morning cartoons about why smoking is a bad habit.  “Don’t smoke – It’s no joke” might even be the tag-line.  Can you picture it?  Now imagine that celebrity doing the commercial all the while smoking a cigarette.  Doesn’t seem like it would be the most productive public service announcement does it?  Of course not.  It’s hypocritical.

After reading yesterday’s devotional, a friend of mine reminded me of the little boy who tattled to his teacher about some things that had gone on during the morning prayer.  The little boy said, “Teacher, I saw another boy had his eyes open and was looking around, like you said not to do, during our prayer time this morning.”  Such a simple example but what a powerful message.  The little boy was judgmental of his classmate because he wanted to look better before the teacher.  At the same time he was blind to his own infraction of the rule.  How could he see someone had their eyes open during the prayer unless he himself broke the rule and had his eyes open.  Judgmental blindness.

Jesus illustrated this same point in Matthew 7.

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, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? Matthew 2-4

It’s important to remember that these words of Jesus were spoken to his disciples during the Sermon on the Mount.  This was sort of the pre-game locker room talk before the busy activities of Jesus’ ministry began.  Matthew 7 is a chapter about disciples having discernment when dealing with other people so that they are more effective in training up more disciples.  Most people who misquote or misinterpret the passages of Matthew 7 as justification for not being told what to don’t get much further than verse 4.  But let’s examine verse 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. Matthew 7:5

Do you see the responsibilities we have in that one single verse?

  1. “You hypocrite” – Don’t be a hypocrite who refuses to deal with his own sin while captiously dealing with the sins of other
  2. “first take the plank out of your own eye” – examine your heart and identify the sins that don’t measure up to the standard God has laid out in His Word and His Son.  Be active in dealing with your own sin first.
  3. “then you will see clearly” – your vision or discernment will not be clouded my malice of prideful intentions, like wanting to tattle to the teacher about the other boy with his eyes open during prayer.

All of that leads up to the final part of that statement, “to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  You see, we do have a responsibility to hold one another accountable in the Lord.  The Bible is full of commands for exposing false teachers, church discipline, rebuking, correcting, etc.  The purpose and the motivation behind all of these things is to bring people closer to the Lord through discipleship rather than to condemn them through harsh judgment.

We need to be careful that we aren’t out pursing the faults of others with judgmental blindness.  Jesus did not sugar coat his dislike for hypocrites.  Take time to examine your heart and your motives this morning.  Are you fault-finding and critical of others all the while ignoring things the Lord wants to deal with you about?  Are you judging others to push them down so that when you compare yourselves to them you look all the better?  Confess these things to the Lord and purpose in your heart to make some changes in how you see and deal with other people.  You are a disciple called to make disciples.

-Stay Rooted Col. 2:7-

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