Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church May 15th , 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Matthew 7:1-5 (VOICE) Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. 2 Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people.
Jesus: 3 Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see what is in your own eye? 4 Don’t ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eyelashes. 5 That type of criticism and judgment is a sham! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then perhaps you will be able to see clearly how to help your brother flush out his sawdust. No matter how much we might like to pretend, when we are being honest with ourselves, all of us know our faults and shortcomings. None of us like to admit these truths and self-reflection comes naturally to very few of us.
In an effort to salve the wounds that come from our inadequacies and mistakes, we often seek to compare ourselves with other people. We look for people that we can judge as less than us, or worse than us and we think that we might feel better and look better by comparison.
This judgment we place on others, hoping to make ourselves feel better rarely, if ever, has the desired effect. This is the message that Jesus has for us in these first five verses of Matthew 7. Rather than make us feel better or look better, making judgments about other people will only bring that same judgement upon us.
Jesus presents for us a choice: live into and out of the love, grace, and forgiveness found in and through Jesus Christ or live in the confines of the judgement we place on others. God’s grace and mercy are overflowing and inexhaustible and it is always available to us.
However, when we choose to try and sit in judgement of others, when we seek to lift ourselves up by putting others down, we make the choice to turn from God’s grace and mercy and into the consequences of our own judgement. Allow the love, the grace, the mercy of Jesus Christ to open your eyes (log free) and see clearly the folly of judging others and the freedom that comes from embracing the forgiveness and forbearance of God.
Sharing God’s Love, Chip
Prayer: It feels so easy, God, to sit in judgement of those around us. To criticize and critique all that others do wrong. It takes our mind off of our mistakes and faults. Help us to embrace your loving forgiveness for ourselves and share that grace with others. Amen.