Matthew 7:1-12 Proper Judgement.
Some of Jesus’ teachings often lead to wildly different interpretations. Some see this passage in such a way that it would ultimately lead to abolishing all rule and order. Obviously there is a danger in pulling verse 1 out of its context. Integrity demands that whatever standard one lives by, and by which one forms an opinion of the actions of others, one is mindful of living up to it themselves. Jesus is stating a reality – that we all have some standard by which we view ourselves and those around us. This is inevitable. In fact, Jesus is teaching a standard here, and it is one of integrity. Judgements will and must be made, but before one makes any judgement we must ask ourselves if we are living according to that same rule.
No one, other than Jesus himself, is perfect. The point is to examine ourselves to see that we seek to live by the same standard by which we view the world and others in it. Clearly Jesus is employing hyperbole when he spoke of a plank in one’s eye, but it was to emphasize the point. The so-called golden rule is a great place to start. Do we do unto others as we would have them do unto us (v.12)? We err if we separate verses 1-6 from 7-12. We should seek, knock, and ask not only of the Father, but others also, and be willing ourselves to help if we can. As Jesus said, even evil people know how to give to their own children, how much more will the Father care for his children?
However, Jesus does say that we are not to give that which is holy to dogs, nor cast our pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and then turn to tear us apart. This is not a naïve ethic, which fails to take into account the presence of evil people bent on our destruction. Whether this be an evil neighbour, or a nation rising to defeat our own, there are certain people who are committed to our destruction if they could. There are those who we know will seek to destroy us no matter what good we seek for them. “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Don not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (Pr. 9:7-8).