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"Critical is Hypocritical"


"Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer."

2 Corinthians 5:16

Reading an email from a fellow pastor the other day, he was sharing how easy it is for us to justify our lives while condemning others, forgetting the very words of Jesus when He said, "in the same measure we judge others we too will be judged with the same measure by God."

Before we came to Christ all of us lived life based on some kind of standard of measurement, a type of scale or curve, a legalistic measuring device where we compared ourselves to the lives of others for the most part to feel better about ourselves, never considering the fact we needed to be changed every bit as much as those we judge so harshly. How quickly we can forget God uses only one measuring device and that is Jesus Christ. If we want to compare lives with someone to see how we measure up, God invites us to do so by comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ.

Growing up playing sports my dad always told me, "there will be always be people better than you and some who are not, so the best thing to do always is give 100% so you can always say, 'I did my very best'." Maybe one of the reasons we find it so is easy to be critical of others is that often times in life we simply fail to give our very best? So we judge others in hope of feeling better about ourselves. Trust me, it doesn't work for long.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 7:1-5 warned about the type of view point where we focus on what others are or are not doing when He said, "Judge 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." Wow, that's a deep passage.

The mistake we can make when reading a passage like that is to say, "I have no problem judging someone regarding ___________ (you fill in the blank with the sin you feel safe judging in someone else's life)." Or maybe we will say something like, "I'm OK with God judging me in this particular area of my life because in this area of my life I am doing really good." The problem with this kind of thinking is Jesus was not talking about a particular sin, He was talking about the attitude of our heart towards others sins, period.

What Jesus is saying is that whatever measurement of judgment you and I use to judge someone else's sin is the same measurement of judgment God will use to judge our own sin. Jesus was not saying if you don't lie, it's OK to judge people harshly that do lie since you don't and therefore you could not be considered a hypocrite. Jesus was saying the exact opposite. It makes no difference what the sin is that we become critical of in other peoples lives. Jesus warns us that the standard by which we judge others will be the exact standard He will use to judge our sin one day. The moral of the story is then, be extremely cautious in our judgment of others because God will one day judge you and I with the same judgment we judge others. Ouch! If we ever found a motive to be gracious towards others, there it is.

Salvation comes to them that believe God and receive forgiveness for their sin, not those who seek to justify themselves before God. The best thing we can do when we are wrong is fess up remembering that confession is good for our soul. I think the reason Jesus stressed this point in Matthew 7 is that He knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows if we can just find someone who we deem is a worse sinner than we are (in our own eyes) somehow we can feel better about ourselves, our habits and our hang ups. That's a temporal fix at best to a lingering and possibly an eternal one as well, loved one. The only way to fix the real problem of a judgmental or critical spirit is to first come to God and ask Him to help us remove the log from our own eye so we can see clearly to judge rightly the speck that may or may not be in our brothers eye.

Know this, everyone in this life is facing a Red Sea you might say, a situation that like we read about in Exodus 10-15 that to them looks impossible, and without the help of God it is. Try to imagine today what it was like for the children of Israel out in the wilderness, fleeing the Egyptian army that was hot on their tails after they were set free from bondage and as they fled they ended up pinned in on all sides with no escape. There were mountains on both sides, the enemy behind them and nothing but the Red Sea in front. From man's perspective the situation seemed hopeless and the people quickly turned on Moses blaming him for their predicament. It is safe to say they saw it all wrong and when we look at life and people through the eyes of our flesh we too will see it wrong and will miss every time what God is doing and what He is wanting us to do in and through and for us.

Yes loved one, "Everyone you meet and know is fighting some kind of a battle today" and the call of the Christian life is fight the good fight and to walk by faith and not by sight. Remember, without faith it is impossible to please Him but by faith we can move mountains, and not just the ones in our own lives but also the mountains in the lives of others too. Determine today to look at people through blood shot eyes, eyes like Jesus had on Calvary's Cross where He shed His cleansing blood for sinners, sinners like you and me. When we begin to see people as Jesus sees them we realize we too need Jesus every bit as much as they do and in the end we will find ourselves judging people far less and loving them much much more.

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."

2 Corinthians 5:14-15


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