July 7, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. - Luke 6:37-38 NKJV.
And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,” when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye. For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. - Luke 6:41-45 NKJV.
In the Sichuan Province of China, it is a common practice for the people to have their eyes cleaned. You might think that if you were going to have your eyeball scraped with a sharp blade you would go to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. In Sichuan Province, if you want your eyeball scraped with a razor you go to a barber! For centuries, barbers in Sichuan have practiced this ancient tradition of eyeball scraping and it is said that having your eyes scraped, “Makes the beauty of life more visible.” In addition to the scraping of the eye, a small metal rod is inserted under the upper and lower eyelid. The rod is moved back and forth to clean the eye further. The entire eye cleaning process only takes about five minutes. The barber uses the same razor for shaves, and if you are worried about cleanliness; he does disinfect his instruments every night. (Chengdu Business Daily Newspaper 04.17.14)
If you have been on facebook for very long you will have seen statements like this: “Only God Can Judge Me.” If it were only true! People are in the judging business and continually make judgments about others from their clothing to their actions or non-actions. While I was a parole officer, I was present in court many times when judges rendered verdicts often sending defendants to prison. Why did those judges in courts render those verdicts? Verdicts are rendered because the defendants were guilty of criminal violations. Why do people often judge in their minds other people? People judge others because of the perceived violation of societal norms or moral values.
Jesus tells us to “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” The type of judgment that Jesus is referring to is revealed in the context of the passage. It is the judgment of a hypocrite that Jesus is warning against. It is possible that some do not understand their own sin when condemning others. King David is the example given to us in 2 Samuel 12 where the prophet Nathan confronts David with his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. Nathan bluntly confronts the King by courageously saying “You are the man!” Finally, David comes under conviction for his sins. In 2 Samuel 12:13-14 we see the result of the confrontation and of those sins, So David said to Nathan, “‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’”
If you are a hypocrite, and all of us probably have been or are at one time or another, maybe you need an eye cleaning? King David had an eye cleaning when he was confronted by the Prophet Nathan. The NKJV has Nathan telling David, “You are the man!” The old KJV seems more powerful as it puts the condemning statement in this way, “Thou art the man!” David was the man who committed adultery and orchestrated the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. David had an eye cleaning as the “plank” in his eye was removed by God’s truth delivered by the Prophet Nathan. Before we condemn, before we judge, it would be well for us to check our own eyes to see if there is a “plank” in them somewhere. If there is, God’s Word is an excellent eye cleaning tool, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).”