1. She is a really nice person. "Yeah, but she sure doesnt know how to
dress very well."
2. He is very generous with his money. "Yeah, but he could be more generous if
he didnt drive such a fancy car and live in that very expensive house."
3. They have both come a long way in their marriage. "Yeah, but the way I
figure it, once youve committed adultery you always wear a scarlet A
on your forehead."
4. That church has a wonderful ministry to elderly people. "Yeah, but do they
have any members under 100?"
5. Jesus said:
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good
measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For
with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not
both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully
trained will be like his teacher.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to
the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the
speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You
hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove
the speck from your brother's eye."
6. That sounds nice, but probably could never work. If we cant judge another
person, how can a teacher grade papers, a citizen serve on a jury, a woman decide if a man
is right to marry, or a social worker save a child from abuse?
7. Well come back to those questions in a few minutes. For now, lets
just listen to Jesus advice for treating people right while still coming out ahead.
I. Dont put people down Luke 6:37-38
A. Judge not/condemn not
1. Jesus started out with one of his most quoted and misquoted lines:
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged."
2. Ive lost count of how many times Ive heard that line quoted by
people who didnt like what they were being told.
A man is about to leave his wife for another woman and he defends himself with "Judge
not, that you be not judged."
A woman is told that as a Christian she should not marry a man who does not have
personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. She answers" "Who are you
. . . who am I to judge whether he is really a Christian or not?"
3. Jesus was not telling us to be stupid or undiscerning. He fully
recognized the necessity to make judgments all the time about good and evil, right and
wrong, guilt and innocence.
4. Jesus was telling us not to be critically condemning of other people. In
other words, Christians should never put other people down.
5. Heres how life works:
Like chickens in the barnyard, we humans often have a pecking order.
We rate others and ourselves according to age, wealth, occupation, physical appearance,
gender, and hundreds of other characteristics.
Whether we are correct or incorrect, we often peg ourselves as higher or lower than
other people. Most of us prefer to be higher. We like to be as close to the top as
One way of trying to get there is to work hard at subtracting other peoples
The condemning person thinks and talks about anything that will lower others in order
to make self look better.
Some of us do this very directly and others do it very subtlely. We say things like "Hes
too old. Shes fat. They are always late. She gets poor grades. She cheats. Hes
too slick. They dont have much money. They have too much money for their own good.
Sounds like a woman. Look at the color of his skin. Have you smelled him lately? Her voice
is so irritating. She still speaks with an accent."
By stealing points through criticism, we seem to make others look worse so that we
can look better.
6. Jesus says, stop this right now! "Do not judge. Do not condemn." Do
not put other people down. The issue is not truthfulness. The issue is love. The issue
is not making necessary judgments but making unnecessary criticisms.
7. But what about all the time when judgments about other people seem to be
essential? Jesus is not forbidding us from evaluating and making needed decisions
about employees, students, criminal and civil court cases, the competency of physicians,
the validity of religious leaders or who to marry. However, it is possible to make
judgments about other people without being judgmental about those people.
You may decide that an employee is cheating on an expense account and fire her. You may
conclude that an employee does not have the potential to do the job that needs to be done
and transfer him to another office and position. At the same time, you can avoid thinking
of yourself as superior, and not say bad things about that person behind his or her back.
She may have stolen from the company because of a financial crisis at home which is
rooted in a dysfunctional family growing up. God only knows all the background and issues.
It is not your place or mine to condemn with inadequate information, but we do have to
make difficult personnel decisions in order to run a business.
8. Jesus announces that there are great benefits from this better way. "Do
not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned." There are two parts to these benefits. If we are not critical of
others, they will be less critical of us. More important, God will not criticize us. If we
have a generous and gracious attitude toward others, God will not need to humble us and
put us in our places. Its a win-win situation.
1. Jesus takes this a step further when he tells us to forgive others and we
will be forgiven. Again there are two parts - - - those of us who forgive others are
more likely to be forgiven by others, and we will be forgiven by God.
2. This is almost word for word the same as that line from the Lords Prayer.
Some people have called it the most frightening prayer we could ever pray: "Forgive
our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Because, if we dont
forgive others, we are directly asking God not to forgive our sins.
3. Take a quick inventory. Who have you not forgiven? What have you not
forgiven? If you can think of anyone or anything, I suggest skipping that line of the
Lords Prayer until something changes.
4. But lets not linger with a negative approach. Lets take
Jesus positive approach: "Forgive , and you will be forgiven."
5. Jesus takes all this a step further. He not only advises us to be
forgivers but to be givers: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure,
pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the
measure you use, it will be measured to you."
In other words, give and you will get. Be generous to others and God will be
generous to you. In fact, God will be extra generous:
"A good measure" - - which is full, not short or skimpy. Like a
"good raise", not just a raise.
"Pressed down" - - think of buying grain. The merchant pushes on the
top to make sure there are no air pockets.
"Shaken together" - - -no empty spaces. Full as full can be. The most
the container can possibly hold.
"Running over" - - that is, heaped high and spilling on the floor.
"Poured in your lap" refers to the way ancient people used to make a
pocket out of the front of their clothes. Your pockets will be full.
Jesus says that generous people will receive with the same size shovel they use to give
to others. (Some people are really cheap - - - if they give anything away it is with a
teaspoon. Others use a snow shovel. Some are so generous they need a front end loader.) "Give,
and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running
over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to
II. Follow the right kind of leaders Luke 6:39-40
Jesus next talks about the kind of leaders and teachers who will help us treat other
right and still come out ahead. Some Bible scholars wonder what this has to do with what
Jesus is talking about. Actually, I think it is connected but I take some delight that
there are people who have trouble following Jesus sermons. Even Jesus sometimes got
off the topic and chased down a few rabbit trails while he was preaching!
A. Leaders who see where they are going
1. Jesus wants us to treat people right. He knows that the leaders we follow
will help or hurt us in the process. This makes sense - - - whether a person chose to
follow Adolph Hitler or Mother Theresa makes a big difference in the treatment of others.
2. The analogy Jesus uses is based on blindness and sightedness: "Can a
blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?"
3. In other words, if you want to treat people right, follow a leader who treats
B. Teachers you want to be like
1. This is even more so with teachers: "A student is not above his
teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher."
2. Ive been writing a new book. One of the privileges of an author is
to dedicate the book. Ive already written the dedication page - - - honoring seven
mentors who have significantly influenced my life. They are people I wanted to be like.
Not one on the list is perfect. Thats one of the advantages of having seven - - I
can take the best from each.
3. Who are your leaders? Who are your teachers? Who do you want most to be
like? Jesus says that Christians should choose those who will lead and shape you to be
non-judgmental, uncondemning, forgiving and giving.
III. Look in your own eyes first Luke 6:41-42
In Luke 6:41-42 Jesus gets back to his main topic, and adds a little humor. Do you
think of Jesus as being funny? Do you imagine the crowds laughing when he talked to them?
While he was often serious to the point of intensity, he used lots of humor when he
taught. One of his most frequent and popular approaches was with hyperbole - - or
exaggeration. He once talked about trying to get a camel through the eye of a needle
(think about it - - -that would be really tough to do!). Here he talks about getting
foreign objects out of the eye.
A. The other eyes speck
1. Jesus imagines one of us going up to another person and saying: "Excuse
me, but I think I see a speck of dirt in your eye and thats really bad. Here, I have
cue tips I always carry for an emergency like this and Ill get out that speck for
you. So, please - - - just come over here in the bright light, hold your eye lids open,
look straight ahead, Ill get the speck out of your eye."
2. Jesus says that this is the critical condemning person who sees the sins and
faults of others and volunteers to do something to clean them up. Not that the person
doesnt have a speck in her eye. She probably does and it might even be good to get
B. Your eyes plank
1. The trouble is, you have a plank in your eye! A board. At timber. A two
by six. Its ripping your cornea open. Its distorting your face. Your vision is
completely blocked. And you cant see it?
2. By this time the crowd is howling with laughter as they try to visualize the
scene Jesus is describing. But in their laughter and in Jesus humor they can see
themselves. He was talking about them. He was talking about us. We really need to deal
with our own sin before we get so worked up about the sins of other people.
3. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and
pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother,
let me take the speck out of your eye, when you yourself fail to see the plank in
your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see
clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
1. We have a lake cabin in north central Minnesota where we have lost a few trees this
summer. The most recent was a beautiful white birch right along the shore line. It
snapped off about three feet above the ground and came crashing down. I was saddened
because I love trees and regret losing even one. But I knew what I had to do - - - get out
the chain saw and cut it up.
2. So with regret, I cut up the white birch. It was the right thing to do. But I
will tell you something about chain saws. Those of you who have and use one already know
what Im going to say. Those of you that have never operated a chain saw may have
trouble understanding. Chain sawing is addictive. There is a sense of power and
importance. The more you cut down the more you want to cut down. If you dont watch
it youll fell every tree on your lot and start working on your neighbors
trees. If youre not stopped you might take down a whole forest.
3. Judging and condemning others is much the same. If you dont watch it, you
can become addicted. You start sawing pieces off another persons life and you feel
important and powerful. When you finish cutting that person down youre ready to
start on another. If youre not stopped youll chain saw the lives and
reputations of everyone in your path.
Its not the Christian way. Thats why Jesus pulls the plug on our chain saws
of criticism, condemnation and self-righteousness. He shows us a better way -- to be godly
Christians who plant and build rather than chain saw Christians who cut others down.