September 23, 2009

Judging Others

Scripture Reading — Matthew 7:1-5

But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:12 — 

Someone has called judging others “our favorite sin.” Some of us are experts at seeing what is wrong with someone else. We wonder why others can’t be more like us. We judge them for their shortcomings and failures, or even for the way they look or dress or talk. We judge others for their weaknesses while we ourselves are often guilty of doing the same things. The speck in someone else’s eye that Jesus talks about is often so obvious to us.

Some parents judge their children for things they are guilty of themselves. Some teachers put down students for things the students cannot change. Some children judge their parents simply for being their parents. We judge and find fault with our coworkers, our colleagues, our neighbors, or others we encounter.

James asks, “Who are you to judge your neighbor?” Jesus himself warns, “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged.”

No, we are not told to overlook sin in someone’s life. But before we judge, we need to take a close look at ourselves. Says Jesus, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? … First take the plank out of your own eye.” And once we have done that, we may be able to see with enough love to help someone remove a speck from their eye.


Father, please keep us from judging other people. Help us to take a close look at ourselves before we make assessments. In all things, help us to act with love. In Jesus, Amen.


Devotion topics: Bible, Books of the Bible, James