Select Thoughts on Judgment and Hypocrisy

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Consider the following reflections on judgmentalism and hypocrisy, particularly as it relates to the study of Galatians 6:1 and following at Bethel Church. Matthew 7:1-5 is helpful here: “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.”

First, passing judgment, or, as it can be translated, making distinctions, is not wrong, it is simply that if one is to make judgments upon another then he or she must be willing to likewise bear the same scrutiny. Jesus says in Matthew 7:2 that the judgment given is same kind of judgment “measured to you” or me.

Secondly, clearly judgments are to made of others. Jesus makes it plain that there are times when we are called to “take the speck out of [our] brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). He proceeds in Matthew 7:6, for instance, to characterize some people as dogs and pigs.

Thirdly, the critical matter, akin to the first point, is that we not be hypocritical in our passing of judgment, for we shall likewise bear scrutiny. Addressing the “speck” in another’s eye must only come after we have first addressed the “log” in our “own eye” (Matt. 7:5). Galatians 6:3-4 shores this up with a powerful admonition toward authenticity.

Fourthly, if we are to pass judgment, that is, specifically address someone’s transgressions, then we must be strategic. Have we properly addressed these matters in our own life so we can pass the same scrutiny with which we judge? Do we have the right platform from which to speak; that is, is there someone better who should address the matter, or is it clear we are the best ones? Is it the right time and/or place? Should we let the force of sin itself be the catalyst by which the sin is addressed, awaiting some semblance of brokeness or pain at which time we then step in with a loving and gentle hand? Can we engage the matter with a restorative spirit or are we harsh and condemning?

There are few easy answers, but perhaps these reflections will offer some help regarding when, how, and even if it is appropriate to step into someone else’s messy circumstances.

[For more on Galatians 6:1-10, click here]

 

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“Write This Down” is a summary of select teaching moments offered by Pastor Matthew. The preceding summary is from the message “You Who Are Spiritual,” part of the sermon series “Galatians: No Other Gospel,” presented on the weekend of July 1, 2012, at Bethel Church.

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