Matthew 7

Dave Simpson on stopping judging people and starting to set them free instead.

Dave Simpson
Dave Simpson

Whilst reading the early part of Matthew 7 recently, I couldn't help but think the metaphors seemed quite mixed. However as these are the words of Jesus I knew they must be there for a reason.

The passage starts with a message from Jesus not to judge others and that, "With the measure you use (to judge), it will be measured to you."

Christ then goes on to say the often quoted verse, "Why do you look for the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank of wood in your own?"

To this point the connection seems clear: As humans we aren't in a position to pass judgement on others, as we have just as many imperfections in our lives as the person we are casting our judgements upon.

It is the next section that threw me. Jesus says, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

What do dogs and pigs have to do with judging people?

Well, I believe what Jesus is saying here, is that whilst we are consistently holding out judgement against another person, we are in effect acting like dogs and pigs and trampling on their vulnerabilities.

Like with much of Jesus' teaching, this passage isn't simply a list of things we shouldn't do, but has a much more restorative point to make.

The key to it is in verse 5 where He says, "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Christ is making it clear that His desire is that we are to be able to bring about healing and restoration in the lives of those around us.

The way we do that though is not necessarily how we would expect. It is by first dealing with our own faults that qualifies us to assist others with theirs.

To continue Jesus' analogy, whenever I've found I have something in my eye, the last thing I want is someone poking around and trying to get it out for me! I know the parts of my eye that will hurt when touched and can apply the appropriate pressure to remove the speck without causing unnecessary pain.

Sometimes though, despite giving it all I can, I am unable to find exactly where the speck is and need help from someone else.

I won't just go to anyone though, because my eye is precious to me. So I will speak to someone I trust to see if they can see anything in there, and if I really do trust them, get it out!

The person I would often turn to is my wife. Not only because I trust her more than anyone, but because she wears contact lenses and so I know she understands how to get things out of an eye without causing pain or damage.

I believe this is what Christ was talking about.

Ok not the contact lenses exactly, but that when we know someone has dealt with plenty of things in their own life, we are more likely to trust that they can help us with our failings and hurt areas in ways that won't cause more pain and damage.

Another way to say it, is we go from being the judgemental pigs that no-one would want to share their valuable vulnerable selves with, for fear they will get trampled on; to being kind people whose desire is to see other people set free. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.