Lesson 106—March 20, 2016
Proper Judging that can Lead to Mourning
Scripture: Matthew 7:2-6
Lesson Goal: Lord, help me to see clearly the real me.
In verse two, Jesus wants His followers to understand this truth—it is absolutely unacceptable for a person to excuse his/her own personal sin while trying to hold others accountable for the same or similar action. Many times, in regard to our own lives, behaviors, actions, attitudes and dispositions, we like to hold the mirror outwardly, pointing out the flaws in others. We want to expose all their blemishes, warts, scars, and imperfections. While we hold the mirror of judgment outwardly, exposing others, we remain safely on the backside of the mirror comfortable and neat, not having any of our own flaws exposed. Jesus tells us that we should use the same mirror facing toward us so that when we look into it, we see our own blemishes, warts, scars, and imperfections. For most of us, it is much easier to hold the mirror so others are exposed, while we dare not turn it toward ourselves.
Jesus is simply saying the mirror of judgment that you hold to expose the flaws of others will be the same mirror which you must face. In our human nature, we are more comfortable holding the mirror for others to see than we are facing into it ourselves.
What are some flaws we can easily point out in others? Now, what are some flaws we find in our own lives when we face the same mirror we held for others? (Be honest. Be real.)
Why is it easier to see the faults in others than to see our own faults?
Please share a time in your life when you were quick to make a judgment about someone only to find out that you had misjudged this person.
Before we move on, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us with a loving and careful examination of our own hearts. May God help us to look honestly into the purity of our own hearts. Please answer the following questions prayerfully and honestly as they pertain to your heart. May God use these questions as a mirror into our hearts.
Do I find it easier to find faults in others or to encourage others?
Do the words of my mouth reveal the heart of an encourager or a fault finder?
Do I share encouraging words with my circle of life, or do I share negative words?
Is my tongue an instrument of righteousness or unrighteousness? Please read Romans 6:13.
Is my mind a fountain of righteous thoughts or a sewer of unrighteous thoughts?
Do I ask God to extend my borders of love and friendship, or am I content with my same little circle?
Do I have to sit by the same person at the same table every Sunday morning during doughnut time?
Do I save the same seat for the same person so we can be comfortable sitting by each other in Life Focus class every week?
Do I show forth the positive love of Jesus by my attitudes and actions, or do I allow the forces of evil to use me to criticize or spread negative thoughts?
Am I living life showing the love of Christ to others (not just to my family and buddies)?
Am I more like Barnabas or Judas?
(VV3-5) Jesus illustrates this truth by using the example of the “speck and plank.” As we read these verses, we quickly understand He is not talking about literal pieces of foreign substances in our physical eyes. He is making a point by offering an example or illustration to help us better understand His point. Jesus wants us to understand how easy it seems for us to find and see the faults of others, while we have even more serious shortcomings in our own lives, but are blinded to, or simply refuse to see, our own shortcomings. Please read James 1:23-24 and Isaiah 6:9-10.
When we judge others, we do so under the misguided presupposition that we are somehow superior to them. The Pharisees saw themselves measuring up to the law in their own eyes, while all others failed to measure up to their pre-described standards.
An Important Truth
In the midst of Jesus’ teachings concerning judging others, we must remember one all-important truth. As we attempt to judge others, we are not all-knowing or all-seeing. We simply do not know all the facts. We are not qualified to be judge!
“speck”—Greek “dokos” means “beam, a log upon which planks in a house rest.”
Please connect Matthew 7:3-5 with Matthew 5:3 and Matthew 5:6.
How do these verses shed light on Matthew 7:3-5?
How do we take the plank (log) out of our own eye?
Can we clearly see our brother’s fault while we have a log in our own eye?
Please read Luke 22:32. How does this verse relate to Matthew 7:3-5? (Please answer prayerfully and thoughtfully.)
Please read Galatians 6:1 and explain the meaning of this verse.
(V6) To understand the truth and dynamic of this verse, we must understand the day and culture of Jesus. In His day, dogs were very seldom kept as household pets like they are today. Most dogs were half-wild scavengers. Many were vicious and often infected with diseases. They were dangerous. Jews would never have given a piece of holy meat (meat that had been consecrated as a sacrifice at the temple) to these wild animals. Never would this part of the sacrificial meat be thrown to scavenger dogs.
Swine/Hogs were considered by the Jews to be the supreme example of uncleanness. Jews did not try to raise or domesticate hogs. These hogs were like the wild dogs that foraged for anything and everything. They were violent and dangerous.
A wild animal cannot appreciate the beauty or value of a pearl. In verse six, Jesus hurls a verbal lightning bolt at His listeners. Hogs cannot eat pearls; they spit them out and then trample them in the mud and muck. Dogs and swine represent those who, because of their great perversity and ungodliness, refuse to have anything to do with the holy and precious things of God, except to trample them under their feet and turn and tear God’s people to pieces.
Please read 2 Peter 2:18-22.
What two animals are mentioned in verse 22?
Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not always bring about simple acceptance or rejection; there will be times when the witness of the Gospel will be resisted with harshness, violence and blaspheme unto God. People’s resistance will result in mocking, reviling and resistant force. We must be very wise in our efforts to share the gospel. Read Acts 18:6.
Do we have a genuine sorrow over the lostness of sinners?