“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, 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 brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
– Matthew 7:1-6 (Jesus speaking; our 20th segment of the Sermon on the Mount)
At this point in the sermon, Jesus warns His disciples, in effect, “If you don’t want to be hoisted on your own petard, don’t be hoisting others on your petard.” Or He could have said, “What you dish out will come back on you; therefore, be careful what you dish out.”
Jesus then asks a question, reminding us of this previous daily devotion:
For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.
– Ezra 7:10
Ezra “practiced” the law of the Lord before he “taught” it. People who try to correct others before they’ve corrected themselves short-circuit this process. This is why Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees of His day “hypocrites.”
…”The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
– Matthew 23:2-3 (emphasis added)
In addition to avoiding hypocrisy, Jesus also here warns against trying to remove specks for people who just don’t want their eyes messed with – “dogs” and “swine.” In this regard, remember that Jesus did not give the Sermon on the Mount to people in general but rather to His “disciples” who “came to Him.”
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help me only share truths with others that I am practicing myself, and, even then, let me only share with the open-minded..(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)