Friday, September 19, 2014

Hypocrite vs. Helper

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck out of your eye; and look, a plank 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." Matthew 7:3-5

In the verses above the Lord gives us a humorous, but brilliant illustration of the problem with judging other people. He speaks of a person trying to remove a splinter out of one person's eye when he has a plank in his own eye.  Jesus said, You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye.   But having said that if we stop here we won't ever understand what Jesus meant, because the key to this passage is verse 5 where Jesus tells us how to walk the tight rope between confronting the sin and condemning the sinner.  Yesterday’s devotional was about the hypocrite and today we will focus on the helper.

Helper - "First remove the plank from your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." 7:5

Now we come to the crucial truth of this passage. Jesus is not forbidding all judgment. In fact, did you know one of the marks that you are a spiritual person is that you know how to judge at the right time, at the right place, in the right way?

There are two words to notice. The word "first" and the word "then."  The world wants to remember the "first"  clause, but to forget the "then" clause.  

Galatians 6 has much to say about our responsibility to our spiritual family when they fall.  Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1-5) 

You see what Jesus was saying was this: We should judge ourselves so that we can properly evaluate others. “Why don't you worry about what is in your own backpack?”  It is not wrong to confront a person if there is sin in his life; it is wrong not to when we see our friend being hurt by his own actions.  Loving, compassionate confrontation does not judge but also does not ignore.  The important aspect of any confrontation is the spirit of the one confronting.  When that spirit is right the one who has been overcome is far less defensive and more open to help.

Grace and mercy are the spiritual attitudes which open the door for someone to step free from whatever it is that is burdening and oppressing their lives.  Apart from that, people become defensive and will even attack when confronted. 

Jesus condemns selfish judgment, but he condones self-judgment to examine our own lives, motives and spirits before we step into the life of another.  In order to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye we must acknowledge our own weaknesses and sinful nature.  Then we approach as a friend and not a judge to help one who has fallen as the Bible commands us.

Scripture to Claim:

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." John 7:24

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