S – Matthew 7:1 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment.2 That critical spirit has a way of boomerang.3 It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.4 Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?5 It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a dishcloth to your neighbor.
O – Jesus once again is blunt and to the point. He hits on something that as Christ-followers we are notorious for. We attend church so we’re one up. We read our Bible we’re two up. We tithe or give in an offering we’re three up. We spend two hours in prayer we’re four up. We climb the positions in church leadership so we’re five up. We have tons of people coming to us for spiritual guidance we’re six up. And then….. we become the almighty himself. That seems harsh but it’s reality and happens all the time. We think we are sitting beside the throne and God wants to use us to help him out by judging others.
It’s so easy to do isn’t it? We look at ourselves in the mirror for a few minutes in the morning, reminding ourselves how incredible we are…. With a second of reminded insecurities. Then…. We got on parole. Why? We’re no longer focused on looking in the mirror at self, but looking into the faces of others. We no longer see our weaknesses and “smudges”, but everyone else’s are out in the open. So….. we cast stones. We comment about their smudges. We point out their planks. Why? Well it makes us feel justified. It makes us feel more holy. It makes us feel perfect. It makes us feel like we’re helping God out. Hey we gotta point the sins of our brother and sisters out right? That’s what the Bible says. In the end we turn people away. We do it before we ever know them. Before we ever know chapters 1 or 2 of their story we just make a spontaneous judgment call. We don’t talk to them because they way they dress, talk, look, ethnicity, where they were, what they smoke, what they’re on, and the list goes on. And…. We become spiritual jerks and turn everyone away from the God we so miserably misrepresent.
Jesus couldn’t stand this. He saw it all the time with the religious of his day. Sadly but one of the most judgmental places I’ve ever been apart of is a church. One of the least was a bar. The greatest? Family and close friends. Why? Because they see us up close with all of our warts. It’s just life. Jesus wants us to fight against it. He also wants us to forgive those that judge us…. Immediately. We all have done it and do it. Lets let people off the hook easily so when we need forgiveness it will boomerang back around.
A – Bam! In my face again this morning. This Gospel journey reads my mail. Have I been that person before? Yes! Many times I’m afraid to admit. It disgust me and I’m glad that about five years ago I made some dramatic changes, but to this day it still haunts me from time to time. These days I must keep looking in the mirror longer and focus on my own junk and not the junk of others. I must stay focused on loving others not judging them. Who’s the judge? Not me…. One of my favorite quotes of all time was made by Billy Graham
“It’s God’s job to judge, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, and…… it’s our job to love”
P – “Father God I struggle daily with this one. Why is it so hard sometimes? I know it’s because I get fearful of others, jealous of others, angry at others, and it keeps leading toward judging them. Help me to stay connected to you and allow your love to gush inside of me to overlook wrongs and overlook anything Satan would wedge in between me and another. I have enough to deal with, rid me of the disease of throwing planks, casting stones, and finding smudges. I need your help! Amen”