We looked at condemnation yesterday, but there is so much involved in this and in Jesus treatment of it, I have to go there again. Condemnation is very powerful. It cuts to the most vulnerable areas at the core of our being. This is why it hurts so badly when used against us, and also why we rely upon it so heavily for our own purposes. So, to accept and live out what Paul tells us in Romans 8:1 is a major milestone in our lives – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV. If we really are different from the world around us, this is where those in the outside looking in should be able to see our difference, where our light should shine the brightest. If we’ve really been changed on the inside, if we are truly becoming more like Christ, then we would not condemn those around us, nor would we accept or receive others’ condemnation raining down upon us.
If we’ve dealt with anger and contempt (which we probably haven’t), then this battle’s mostly won already. When we condemn, we are setting ourselves up as somehow better than the one being condemned, the inference being, of course, that we are not like that. We have gotten all wrapped up in our delicious self righteousness, and therefore feel justified in comparing ourselves and condemning. We have contempt for them or their actions, and we see them as less than ourselves, deserving of our condemnation.
Anger almost always leads to condemnation, because anger seeks to injure, and there is not much in the world that injures as quickly or painfully as condemnation. And once we go down the path of condemnation, our anger is then free to multiply, because now we see those on the receiving end as deserving of their suffering and unworthy anyway of any love, protection or respect. To which the one we condemn responds back with amplified anger and condemnation of us, and then it all just goes around in a circle as ever recycled hate and revenge.
Of course, Jesus does give us his better way. Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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. It is amazing, isn’t it, how we can always see and point out every fault and defect in those around us, but as soon as our own faults are shown to us we respond with – anger and contempt!!
Jesus declares something very strong, powerful and important here that I don’t want you to miss. He is declaring loudly and clearly that everyone who judges, who condemns others, is a hypocrite. We see the speck of dust in our brothers eye and condemn him for it, while not even knowing we have a “log” in our own eye. Yes, we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 ESV. Is it just because everyone screws it up, we are all sinners, that Jesus says this? Is he merely telling us once again to “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone,” John 8:7 ESV? Actually, no, that’s not what Jesus is doing here. Jesus just understands what condemnation really is, and what it involves.
Here’s what we miss here – Jesus knows inherently that all who judge others with condemnation are hypocrites and have a log in their eye because condemnation itself is the log in their (yours and my) eye. Simply the fact that we are condemning someone in this manner is evidence that our hearts are not yet right in the kingdom of God. Our condemnation of our brother blinds us to the true value of our brother. We can’t see how to help our bother, because we really can’t even see our brother as our brother. And until we become the kind of person who does not condemn, we will never know how to really help our brother. We don’t take the log out so we can see how to better condemn our brother. It is only when we take the log out of [our] own eye that we can walk with him representing the Holy Spirit of advocacy and not the unholy spirit of accusation and condemnation.
“”Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log 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 dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Matthew 7:1-6 ESV