“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while 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 neighbor’s eye.
“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
As you read the scripture, sometimes you encounter a passage where it is really impossible to apply in our lives. And those passages is not difficult to understand or because it is hard to practice, but simply because it doesn’t make sense. So you may wonder why do I need to practice that? And today’s passage is one of those. Do not judge. How can you live without any judgment? Is it even good to live without any judgment? And you may say that it’s not good to live without thinking, without clear judgment about what you’re doing. We always need to judge what is right and what is wrong. And I agree. I agree with you 100 percent. And also whether we like it or not, whether we try or not, we always judge. We may not express our judgment on the outside, but deep inside of us we have our own judgment. We make an ethical judgment, political judgment, and financial judgment.
The passage we read is easy to understand but it doesn’t make sense why we should live without any judgment. So we say living with critical thinking is very important. That something that we’d like to encourage people. You should live with critical thinking. You have to know what is going on in your life and you have to know what is right and what is wrong. You cannot just blindly, aimlessly live your life. You have to live with critical thinking, but critical thinking without a clear ability to be able to judge is not possible. So we wonder whether we can take this passage literally. So when we read the Bible, we cannot just take one sentence out of his own context. For example, we cannot single out one sentence such as “do not judge” ignoring the whole context. We have to consider the whole context.
And today I like to examine with you the whole context of today’s scripture passage. First of all, let us think about judgment. I think there’s a difference between judgment and judgmental-ism. I don’t think judgmental-ism is an English word, but let’s just use it for our own purpose. So I think there’s a difference between judgment and judgmental-ism. Douglas Hare, one of the scholars who write on the commentary on Mark, I think he defined judgmental-ism very creatively and very insightfully. So let me introduce that. Judgmental-ism is a social sin. It is the habit of constantly finding fault with what others say and do. It is a disease of the spirit. The critic arrogantly assumes a superiority that entitles him or her to assess the feelings of others. I think the important word is entitlement.
The people who have arrogance in their hearts think that they are entitled to find fault in others. To say aloud the faults in other people. This entitlement, the attitude of entitlement. Judgment is a disease of the spirit, it is also a social disease. It is something that we need to be healed from. It’s not just because of the great people have this judgmental attitude. It is some people who are suffering from something, they have this judgmental attitude towards others. So judgmental-ism and judgment are two different things. Judgmental-ism is the attitude of constantly finding fault in other people. It is the attitude of “I’m better than you.” They won’t say it, but deep inside it’s an I’m better than you kind of attitude.
I suspect that that is the kind of attitude Paul had before he met Christ. I think he lived with a superiority complex, Paul before he met Christ. That’s why he wanted to kill all the Christians and the thinking that “you are wrong and I’m right, so I have to persecute you. I have to imprison you, have to kill you.” I suspect that, whether he suffered from the superiority complex before he met Christ but after he met Christ, he saw himself differently, more honestly, more in a real way. He was able to say, I’m the least of all the apostles. That requires tremendous courage to be able to admit that I’m the least of all the disciples. Something came off from his eyes and then he was able to see himself in a real way, in an honest way, to see yourself in an honest and real way. To me, that person is quite a confident person. That tells me a tremendous confidence. When somebody fabricates or colours themselves as all that, I see that. And then I see their weakness, but somehow somebody who’s really weak and vulnerable, who shares about their own suffering and difficulties, I see strength in that person. You’re quite confident about yourself to be able to say that. But the people who suffer from lack of confidence, they always have to brag about themselves. They always have to show that they are better than other people.
Small Mistake, Large Brush
I was reflecting on Jesus’ last sentence. “First, take the log out of your own eye and then you’ll see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.” I was wondering what that log is. What’s that log? Whenever I read this passage, I always thought like this, you’re worse than other people, who do you think you are to judge other people? You have a log in your heart and, but other people have only a speck, how is it that The person with a log tries to condemn the person with only speck. In other words, you are worse than other people so don’t judge other people who are better than you. That’s how I took it.
But when I read this passage, this time I thought of something else, there’s something else that Jesus was trying to teach. According to what Jesus said, this log is something that blinds you so that you’re not able to clearly see the speck, see the scripture, take the log out of your own eye, and then you will clearly see the speck. Then we can take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye. Also, I realized that when I see other people’s fault and mistakes, I don’t see a speck, I see a log, I consider that a log. What I’m saying is when a person makes a mistake, we blow it up, so that we paint a person with their one mistake that they made. Instead of seeing that he or she has many other great qualities and made a small mistake, we take that small thing and we make big deal out of it. We would be like, “oh, that person always lie,” “that person is always this or that.” We paint that person, so we see log rather than a speck. We don’t see problems of people in perspective. We tend to paint the person with that small mistake that they make. That is judgmental-ism.
Beauty within Us
People are both good and bad. There’s nobody who’s always good. There’s nobody who’s always bad. They both have good and bad character. We don’t need to characterize a person with our sweeping judgment. We’ll never learn to appreciate people. We will always see them with cynicism. That’s sad. Living with that kind of cynicism is not a happy life. That’s not what life is supposed to be. You’re supposed to appreciate other people. You’re supposed to love other people, but if you make a judgment about a person, How can you love that person? The person who has a log in them, well, whatever goes into them becomes ugly. When you have a log inside you, whatever goes into you, it comes out ugly. Even the good things will come out ugly. How can you love ugly things? We’re supposed to love one another and that’s a good life. That’s a happy life. Loving other people, appreciating other people. That’s a happy and good life, but when you always look at the fault in other people, how difficult that must be every day, you have to be filled with negative emotion. Whenever you see people, so in that way, you can never have a good relationship and friendship with people. This log is many things. It can be your self-righteousness. The log can be your hurt, your baggage or your pride. It can be whatever. So once you have this log inside you, your eyes become blind and you see people in a very negative way, cynical way. And with it, you can never love and appreciate other people.
Jesus called us to love one another. Jesus’ greatest commandment was to love one another. Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. And when you’re not able to love other people, then you are breaking Jesus’ greatest commandment. That’s what Jesus wanted us to live with. But when you see negative things about people, then you can never love them and appreciate them. You always put them down and you see things negatively because inside of us, there’s a lot of negative things that are going on. It is hard to see positive things in people. We need to be healed from the ugly things within us, we need to take out the log so that we may be able to see clearly.
Yesterday I had a Bible study and one of our members said, “I go to the hospital to see my father who is 90 years old. He is suffering from Alzheimer.” And he said, “my father, whoever he sees, he says negative things. Every single child. They come and he criticizes. He criticizes everyone” and it drives him crazy whenever he visits him and all he gets is a negative criticism from his father. And then he said, “I’m scared that I’ll be like that when I get old.” We need to be healed from this negativity within us. We need to take out the log, so that we may be able to see other people and appreciate other people. People have beautiful qualities.
Every single one of them is beautiful because you all have God’s image. You’re created in God’s image. You are beautiful, but we can never see the beauty of people. But we have a negative attitude. You will become very lonely when you start seeing people in a negative way. You won’t make friends, and one by one they will leave you until you’re all alone. As you get older, that becomes worse. I know many older people who don’t meet anybody, they’re just on their own. They want nobody to visit them. They don’t want to visit anyone. They’re just all by themselves. That’s a sad life towards the end. You’re supposed to have many good friends and appreciate each other’s beautiful quality. Jesus, die for you. You are extremely precious. Jesus will not die for somebody whose existence is meaningless. Jesus died for you because you are very precious. And we have to understand the preciousness of each other. When the log is out of you, only then you can see the beautiful quality in other people. When you see negative things about people, don’t think that you’re very insightful.
Person vs Somebody
Don’t think that you’re so smart about seeing through people. What is more important is to see the beautiful quality of a person. So sometimes when I meet a person, I always feel that I’m a very precious person. This person doesn’t even give a compliment or even say anything, but when I just standing with them, it makes me feel valued. That you’re very valuable and precious person. But when I stand with somebody, somebody makes me feel like garbage. So whenever I feel that I want to run away from that person as soon as possible. We need to learn to build the skill, to be able to see beautiful things in other people.
Don’t fake it when you see ugly things like, “you’re so beautiful.” Don’t fake it. It doesn’t work. You’ll have to see the beautiful things. Then you can appreciate that person. It is even the same as your children, you have to see the beautiful quality. Then you’ll be able to love them. Loving others is not a sentimental thing. It’s not something that you’ve decided either. To love other people, the first thing that you have to do, the most important thing that you got to do, “is you’re such a precious person.” You appreciate a person. Then you can love that person. So be careful with your mouth. Be careful with your words. Don’t think that you are entitled to make criticism. I mean, who are you to say? Who gave you that entitlement? Nobody gave you that entitlement. That entitlement is from you, your ego, your arrogance. Always appreciate other people, respect other people.
Christian ministry is not about putting people down and changing them. Christian ministry is serving them, stand below them and appreciate them and serve them. Jesus used that method as his ministry. That’s why he died on the cross. That’s why he knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples. That’s something that Jesus showed us. Our ministry is to kneel down and serve one another. That’s what Christian ministry is all about. God chose Ministry to change people. God did not choose politics or corporations. God chose ministry to bring about change and the core of their ministries is kneel down and serve. To do that, you have to learn to appreciate each other. Take out that arrogance out of your heart, out of your brain. Don’t easily criticize people. Learn to appreciate one another. Your life will become much better. Let forgiveness be the living principle of your life. Whatever happens, that forgiveness is the living principle of your life. Your life will get much better and you’ll become a much happier person and you’ll be able to help out the other people in a better way.
Reflection Song and Prayer
Hating somebody or seeing people negatively take so much energy. It just saps the energy out of us. Living like that is a misery. Being able to love somebody, being able to appreciate the people around us is a beautiful thing, is a beautiful life. Let us pray.
Lord, we have experienced many failures and brokenness and sometimes we have become hardened and within us, there is a log and because of this log, we are not very happy with people, with ourselves, with family and with close friends. Lord, take the log out of me so that I can freely love others, embrace others, appreciate others. Let us pray so that God may help us do that.