Carrying on from where we left yesterday, when it comes to judging others we need to be aware of our human tendency to be far more critical of others than we are of ourselves. This supports what Jesus said “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 7:3-4)
It’s quite a picture Jesus paints here. A guy with a 75mm – 120mm completely blocking his vision and he’s got his tweezers out, trying to take a speck out of someone else’s eye. The picture is absurd. That’s why Jesus paints it. He’s saying: “Do you realise how absurd it is for people like us – fallible, failure-prone, blind-as-can-be people – to stand in judgment over anyone else?”
A.W. Tozer: A Pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.
The classic example of this in the Bible comes from 2 Samuel 11, where king David, at the height of his reign, has a palace full of wives and concubines. But one day he sees a remarkably attractive woman bathing next door. Her name is Bathsheba. He invites her to the palace. They have an affair. He has her husband murdered. He marries her. And David doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over the whole deal. Months later, a prophet named Nathan comes to talk to with David about a difficult legal case. He says, in effect, “O wise King, I need your advice on a difficult legal case that I’m handling. Will you help me?” David says, “No problem.” So Nathan says, “Here are the facts of the case. There is a very wealthy landowner who lives next door to a really poor guy.
The guy is so poor he owns just one sheep, a little lamb. It’s like a pet. It eats at the family table and sleeps in the kids’ bed. But the wealthy farmer had an unexpected guest drop by for dinner one night. Rather than kill a lamb from one his own vast flocks, he walks right into the poor guy’s house, grabs the little pet lamb out of the kids’ arms, takes it back to his place, slaughters it, and feeds it to his guest. Now, wise King, what sentence should this guy get?”
Barely able to control his anger, David shouts, “He deserves to die. Who is this man?”
Nathan replies, “It’s you. You have just done the very same thing with a woman named Bathsheba.” And David comes face to face with the dark propensity in all of us to see the evil in other people’s lives while being blinded to our own. I like how John Stott puts it when judging or appraising others: “We need to be as critical of ourselves as we often are of others, and as generous to others as we always are to ourselves.” So when you’re tempted to get the tweezers out, push the pause button and first ask yourself: “Have I ever said, done or thought the exact same thing?” Most of the time we have – or worse.