THE DUPLICITY OF A CRITICAL SPIRIT
4/29/2012 12:30:09 AM -
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, and behold, the log is in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs, and do not throw your pears before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces" (NASB).
A lady in an airport bought a book to read and a package of cookies to eat while she waited for her plane. After she had taken her seat in a terminal and gotten engrossed in her book, she noticed that the man one seat away from her was fumbling to open the package of cookies on the seat between them. She was so shocked that a stranger could eat her cookies that she didn't really know what to do, so she just reached over and took one of the cookies and ate it. The man didn't say anything but soon reached over and took another, too. When they were down to one cookie, the man reached over, broke the cookie in half, got up and left. The lady couldn't believe the man's nerve but soon the announcement came for them to board the plane
Once the woman was aboard still angry at the man's audacity and puzzling over the incident, she reached into her purse for a tissue. It suddenly dawn on her that she shouldn't judge people too harshly - for there in her purse lay her still unopened package of cookies.
I will like to share with you the on the topic: "The Duplicity of a Critical Spirit."
1. THE BELIEVER'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS OTHERS VV. 1 - 5
This passage is probably the misunderstood and misinterpreted of all in the New Testament. Verses 1 - 2 command every Christian not to be a judge. You and I must reject Tolstoy's belief, based on this verse, that Christ totally forbids the human institution of any law court," and that Jesus could mean nothing else by those words". Jesus' teachings are further from Tolstoy's interpretation of the text. Jesus is not speaking about the judges in the courts of law rather the responsibility of an individual to one another. Second, Jesus' injunction to judge not is not a command to suspend our critical faculties in relation to others; moreover, Jesus is not commanding us to turn blind eye to the faults of others (pretending not to notice them). Jesus is not forbidding us from exercising constructive criticism and to refuse to discern between truth and error, goodness and evil. Jesus is not teaching us to suspend all moral judgments. How can we be sure that Jesus was not referring to these things? First it will not be honest to behave like this, but hypocritical, and we know from this and other passages of Jesus' love of integrity and hatred of hypocrisy. Second, it will contradict man/woman whose creation in God's image includes the ability to make value judgments. Third, much of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is based on the assumption that we will indeed use our critical powers. For example Jesus teaches us to be different from the world around us, in that we are to develop and cultivate righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and the Scribes. Jesus also teaches us to do more than others in the standard of love we adopt, not to be like hypocrites in our piety (our giving, prayer and fasting) or like the heathen in our ambition (preoccupation with material things). More importantly in verse 6, Jesus commands us not to give what is holy to dogs or to give our pearls to pigs. How can we do this without critical analysis and discernment? It will be impossible to obey both commands without using our critical judgment. If Jesus does not forbid us to use wise judgment, then what does He mean when he says "Do not judge"? In a nutshell, Jesus is commanding us not to be censorious. Jesus is referring to private judgmental attitudes that tear down others in order to build up yourself. Jesus is saying that if you want to be His disciple you must not be critical or condemning in your attitudes towards others. Jesus is dealing with a censorious attitude that always wants to find fault with others. Such attitude is negative and destructive towards others and enjoys actively seeking the falling of others.
The reason why this attitude is more dangerous and deceptive is that you take the place of God. God is the only righteous judge. Therefore if you have a judgmental attitude you are going to be judged by God (v. 2). Jesus is saying that the way you treat others is the same way God will treat you. If you are a person who majors in slander, gossip, and malice, God will deal harshly with you according to Jesus teachings here. The apostle Paul applies the principles that Jesus teaches here in Mathew 7:1 to the situation of the Roman church (Rom. 14:4). Paul also applies the same truth to himself when he found himself surrounded by hostile detractors (1 Cor. 4:4, 5). The simple but vital point that Paul makes in these passages is that man is not God. You are not God and you are not to play God. No human being is qualified to be the judge of his fellow humans. This is true because you cannot read others heart or assess others motives. To be censorious or judgmental is to usurp the prerogative of the divine judge, in fact to try to play God.
Not only are you not the judge, you are also among the judged, and you shall be judged with the greatest strictness yourself if you dare to judge others. The rationale behind verses 1-2 is clear. If you pose as a judge you cannot plead ignorance of the law you claim to administer. If you enjoy occupying the bench, you must not be surprise if you find yourself in the dock. As Paul rightly put it, "Therefore you have no excuse o man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you the judge is doing the very same things." (Rom. 2:1; cf. James 3:1). In summary the command not to judge is not a requirement to be blind to the faults of others, but rather, a plea to be generous. Jesus does not tell us to cease to be humans by suspending our critical faculties which helps to distinguish us from animals, but to renounce the presumptuous ambition to be God, by setting ourselves up as judges. Jesus is telling you to examine your motives and conduct instead of judging others. The truth of the matter is that the traits that bother you in others are often the habits you dislike in yourself (Davis and Nathan the prophet). Your untamed bad habits and behaviors are the very ones you most want to change in others. Do you find it easy to magnify others' faults, while ignoring and excusing your own? If you are ready to criticize others check to see if you deserve the same criticism. Judge yourself first and then lovingly forgive and help your neighbor.
In verses 3 and 4, Jesus is teaching us that His followers are not to be hypocrites. In these verses Jesus tells His Famous parable about foreign elements on peoples' eyes, speck of dust on one hand and logs or beam on the other. I don't know how many of you have been in a sawmill. If you have suffered from a speck of dust from a sawmill in your eye, it is very painful experience. Here Jesus uses a sense of humor to drive His point home to us.
This is the caution. Jesus is not saying that you should never correct anyone. However, Jesus' point is that while we all have sins in our lives, (some as small as speck; some as large as a log), we are responsible to deal with our own sin and then help others.
We have fatal tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the gravity of our own. You seem to find it impossible to be objective and impartial when comparing yourself with others. When you minimize your own fault and judge others harshly you experience the pleasure of self righteousness without the pain of repentance. This makes you a hypocrite because an apparent act of kindness, taking the speck out of your brother's eyes is made the means of inflating your own ego. I like what A.B. Bruce writes about censoriousness: A "Pharisaic vice, that of exalting ourselves by disparaging others, a very cheap way of attaining moral superiority." The parable of the Pharisee and the publican was Jesus' own commentary on this perversity. Jesus told this parable "to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others" (Luke 18:9). The apostle Paul states, "If we judge ourselves truly, we should not be judged" (Cor. 11:31). We should not only escape the judgment of God; we will also be in position humbly and gently to help an erring brother. James 5:19-20 states, "My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover multitudes of sins."
Jesus teaches that believers are not to be judgmental nor hypocritical, but to be brotherly to others (v. 5). Let me set the records straight. Jesus is not teaching us to refrain from meddling with other people's eyes to mind our own business. Jesus is saying you have a responsibility toward your Christian brother/sister. That is why Jesus teaches that if your brother or sister sins against you, should go and tell him his fault between you and him alone (Matt. 18:15). Due to the neglect of this teaching of Christ many Christians blow up easily in a church setting. If you pay heed to the teaching of Christ, tempers will not easily flare up in Christian setting. As Christians you must and should behave like those whose lives are transformed. You are not people of darkness and you should learn how to forgive and let go, else you give a foothold in your life to Satan to torment and harass you. More than that you become a hindrance to others.
If you have a major moral failure in your life you are disqualified from passing judgment on a fellow believer. However if you are blameless in certain situations Jesus commands you to reprove and correct your brother who is living in sin. Once you have dealt with your own troubled eye, then you can see clearly to help your brother or sister. It is only when you have a clear vision, can you remove the speck out of your brother/sister's eye. Therefore, Jesus commands you not to play the judge, thus becoming harsh, censorious and condemning, nor the hypocrite, thus blaming others while excusing yourself, but the brother, caring for others so much that you first take care of your fault before you execute constructive help for others. Jesus is saying that you need to be critical of yourself as you often are of others, and as generous to others as you are always to yourself.
II THE BELIEVER'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS "DOGS" AND "PIGS" V.6
This statement of Jesus might have come as a shock to some of His listeners after his appeal for constructive brotherly behavior. However, Jesus always calls a spade a spade. His outspokenness led him to call Herod Antipas "that fox." He called the hypocritical Pharisees and Scribes "whitewashed tombs" and a "brood of vipers." Here Jesus affirms that there are certain human beings who act like animals and therefore may be accurately designated dogs and pigs. The context of this passage provides a healthy balance. If you are not to judge others, finding fault with them in a judgmental, condemning or hypocritical way, you are not to ignore their fault either and pretend that everybody is the same. Both extremes are to be avoided. Christians are not judges, but Christians are not simpletons either. If you are sincerely and honest to deal with your own moral failures and you extend a hand to help a troubled brother, if he is a true believer, he will appreciate your help. But the truth of the matter is that not everybody is grateful for criticism and correction. This is the obvious distinction between a wise man and a fool in the book of Proverbs: "Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man and he will love you" (Prov. 9:8). Who then are these dogs and pigs? The dog that Jesus mentioned here are not reference to a household pets, but a scavenger, and wild dogs. These dogs scavenge in the city's refuse dumps. Pigs were unclean animals to the Jews, not to mention their love for mud. In his second letter Peter writes "the dog turns back to his own vomit, and sow is washed only to wallow in the mire" (2 Peter 2:22)The reference is that unbelievers whose nature has never been transformed, possesses physical or animals life, but not spiritual or eternal lives. A Jew will never hand over food to an unclean dog. Nor would he ever dream of throwing pearls to pigs. The pigs would mistake the pearls for nuts or peas, trying to eat them and then finding them inedible, would trample on them and even assault the giver. Jesus is simply saying that we must be discerning about people's attitudes towards the gospel. The gospel is the "holy thing" and "pearls" in this verse. Jesus is not forbidding us from sharing the gospel with unbelievers. What He is saying is that we are not to waste our time with those who have has an ample opportunity to hear the gospel but have defiantly rejected it. Such persons are not worthy of the gospel; neither should we waste our time on them. That is why when Jesus was sending the disciples He told them to leave any house that would not welcome them. Some of you come to church reluctantly because you are not interested in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you persist in that behavior you become like a dog and a pig in this passage who do not deserve the holy word, which is the pearl of great price that a man sold all that he has and purchased it. Am I speaking to somebody? Some of you don't say defiantly that you don't need the gospel but your attitude and conduct speak volume that you don't have any desire for both spiritual and eternal things like the gospel of Christ. The gospel is not for those who don't want to hear it, that is why some people have heard the gospel but are still lost. This is why some people come to church but there is still no difference in your conduct and behavior. The truth of the matter is that your basic nature has not been transformed. You must be born again.