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Bible with Cross ShadowJudge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 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 from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

This passage has been a challenge to many in the church – including myself. Jesus seems to begin with an emphatic statement, only to follow it with a process for doing the very thing He said not to do. Many have harmed themselves (and the church) by misinterpreting this to mean that we are prohibited from identifying the sin in our brother and helping him to remove it.

A more careful reading of this and related passages, reveals just the opposite (see Ezekiel 3:16-21, Matthew 18:15-17, 1Corinthians 5:1-5, Galatians 6:1, James 5:19-20). Christians are responsible – and obligated by love – to actively weed out sin in our brothers, and in the church.

So, what are we to hear and do with this saying? For starters, we must recognize that Jesus is addressing related, but different, subjects. The fact that a publisher decided to group them in the same paragraph does not mean they are the same thing. Judging another is not the same as removing planks and specks. Read the rest of this entry »

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