How to Judge Others

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)

Consider others better than yourself, not because they are, but because you are no better. The humbling truth is that, you can’t see their heart, only their action. Yet, sin lies in the heart, not the act of a person. To judge someone by their actions alone is to display spiritual ignorance. But there’s also another reason to consider others better than yourself. It is that, even though you can never see their heart, you are always seeing yours. Your heart is constantly before your eyes and your conscience.

The depravity of your own soul is a constant companion that you tug along in your Christian walk. To think of someone else as being worse than you is to be presumptuous about the state of their heart and thus, judging them falsely. You are judging them without any sufficient, definitive or conclusive evidence. Jesus precisely told us not to speak against the speck in another person’s eye because of the plank in our own. I am persuaded that the speck may represent the other person’s outward sin, which we can see. And both you and I know it is nothing to be compared with the sin in their heart. The plank in our own eye is my inward sin, which only God and I can see, and only God can remove.

Therefore, to try to remove the speck in another person’s eye is not only falsely judging them (because they are actually worse), but it is also falsely diagnosing their problem. Which means that you will end up prescribing an ineffective medication (that they clean up their act instead of their heart). People do not have a sin(s) problem, they have a Sin problem. The world doesn’t have a speck problem, but a plank problem. Only those who have Christ have their planks removed, through the Cross. Therefore, only the saints are able, through the Holy Spirit (the eyes of Christ), to see not just the speck, but the plank in another person’s eye.

“The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment” [1 Corinthians 2:15)

Of course our specks differ…, but we all have the same plank. The sin of Adam.

When Christ prescribed removing the plank from our own eye so that we can clearly see the speck in another person’s eye, He knew that we will soon find that impossible to do on our own. We cannot remove our own planks. Only Jesus Christ can wash away the sin in our heart. And when we come to this realization, that only Christ can cleanse us, we also come to the realization that only Christ can cleanse others. We are told not to judge the speck in the other person’s eye because their problem is not a speck problem, but a plank problem.

Many people define removing your own plank as “confessing about your particular sins to God so that you can judge others about those same sins with a clear conscience.” That is an non-spiritual way of thinking.

To judge rightly is to let Jesus judge. It is to acknowledge that you are standing next to the other person before a holy and righteous judge, awaiting a similar fate. To judge rightly is to acknowledge that we all have a plank problem, but different superficial speck expressions. Therefore, considering yourself better than others is to border on blasphemy. But considering others better than yourself…, now that’s love. 🙂

~ Ngare ~

1 Comment

  1. Cornel…interesting post. However, the admonition to Christians not to judge others is frequently brought up conveniently to shield people engaged in obviously wrong behaviour from legitimate scrutiny.

    The Bible no where tells us to turn a blind eye to immorality in our churches for example because ostensibly we are also immoral in our hearts. Or not to expose the teachings of false preachers / so-called prophets / apostles.

    Nothing is more infuriating to me than to hear someone who should know better proclaiming…..”who am I to judge?” When a simple distinguishing of wrong and right is what was called for in the first place.

    We are called to discernment at all times…1st John chapter 4…..able to distinguish wrong from right, falsehood and truth, even though we ourselves are not perfect because as you pointed out…there is a standard of Holiness in Jesus Christ which does not change.

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