One of the things that happens a lot is that people as Christians are told “judge not”. It’s like a mantra. The whole world has embraced it now – we must not judge.
Now if you take that to logical extremes it’s absurd! There are two pieces of meat, one is rotten and smells, the other is awesome looking. Don’t judge, eat both of them! No – you would never do that. We all make judgments when we buy clothes, buy food, eat food, buy a new house, a new car. We have to judge to make decisions. All judging is is simply looking at the evidence and making a preference or decision.
Now, it is clear from the Bible that there are times we are supposed to judge, and times we are not supposed to judge.
In Matthew 7.1-5. Jesus says don’t judge the speck in someone else’s eye when we have a plank in our eye.
So there is one situation is when it is wrong to judge – when what is going on in your life is worse than what is going on in their life. It’s strange that when our lives are a mess we immediately want to rip someone else’s life apart to make ourselves feel better. I’ve met cocaine addicts who feel good about themselves because “at least it’s not heroin”. We fail so we try and pull people down with us. We try and blow other people’s candles out to make our light shine brighter.
It’s amazing how as a pastor I can be with a couple whose marriage is falling apart, they are on the verge of divorce, he is secretly drinking, she is overeating and they are both depressed. Yet, they will storm out of the church because they disagreed with some minor side point I made on the end-times! No – when you have a plank in your eye and you need help, that’s when you don’t judge. You don’t go to criticize, you go to get a lifeline.
If you are drowning, don’t refuse the lifeline because the person throwing it is smoking, or drinking, or black, or white, or too old, or too young, or all the other stupid reasons we discriminate against people. You need the lifeline – you have a plank in your eye. If you need help, get it. Don’t leave church over minutia when church is helping put your life back together.
It has been really hard for me recently, as a few people have stopped attending our church and I saw their Facebook pages – not filled with hatred for the church, but just missing life. Where they used to talk about love, about victory, about joy, about healings and miracles they were seeing – now it’s just life. Here’s what is going on a work today, here is my lunch. Whatever. It’s just missing that life. They left church because they made a judgement on a speck, when they need someone to help remove the plank from their eye. They ran away from our lifeline because we didn’t meet their requirements but they are drowning. I only hope they find someone else and by then are so desperate they won’t care that the next church has also got a speck or two!
When you have a plank in your eye, stop looking for specks, stop looking for reasons to judge and get annoyed, and get the help you need.