"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1–3).
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
To get a clear understanding of these verses, we have to look at the context of what Jesus is teaching. And the context is "hypocrisy".
verse 3. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
verse 4. "Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?
verse 5. "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The "hypocrite", according to Bible lexicons and concordances, is an actor, stage player, a dissembler, a pretender and a hypocrite. A hypocrite is one who simulates, feign or pretends. One who is vile, shameful, reproachful, full of dishonor, ignominy, and disgrace.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Definitions won't adequately describe what Jesus is talking about. Jesus is saying that one's attitude reveals their character, their heart and their intentions. The hypocrite is in danger of being lost and perishing.
Read what Jesus says about, and to, hypocrites (I have abbreviated these verses for context. You can read the full chapter of Matthew 23, here.
Verse 13. “But WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites, you will receive greater condemnation.
Verse 15. “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
Verse 27. “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites, you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Verse 29. “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME?
Read, again, Matthew 23, verse 29, “WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”
Hypocrisy could be described as a deadly form of narcissism, where the practice of claiming to have moral standards or views to which one’s own behavior does not meet. It is a pretense of morality that cloaks our inability to meet some predetermined moral code.
The word, in the verses cited above, comes from the Greek word, “hupokrinomai”, which means, to be an actor under an assumed character, a stage-player; figuratively, to disguise or conceal one's real nature, motives, or feelings behind a false appearance.
One of the root causes of hypocrisy is fear and low self-esteem. We suffer hypocrisy as an avoidance for looking at our shortcomings and figuring out our part in it. Hypocrisy typically stems from a sincere belief that the double-standard we apply to ourselves is justifiable, because we have better intentions, therefore, we are forgiven for our “mistakes”.
We believe our intentions are just, noble and sincere, despite how we act at times. The Bible, in Jeremiah 17:9, warns us about trusting our ‘heart’ on these matters, when it tells us, “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?”
1 John 1:8, tells us that, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
In order to find relief from this satanic trap, this disorder, we must admit that we are imperfect beings, created with flaws, who are prone to fail.
1 John 1:9, says that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We must learn to look at our own shortcomings and recognize that every one of us is prone to wrongdoing. The Bible tells us that we all fall short of God’s Glory and that none of us are righteous, no not anyone!
The person suffering from hypocrisy has a strong desire to be loved and accepted. The fear of personal failure, humility and judgment is so powerful, that we use “double-mindedness” and cognitive dissonance to avoid facing ourselves.
Also, at the root of hypocrisy is a desire to be loved and accepted without judgment. Only God can give that kind of love. It takes time and work by way of spiritual discipline to come to know and trust God, Who, alone, is trustworthy.
Remember, people have difficulty trusting or having compassion for hypocrites. Others are likely to forgive you when you admit making a mistake, and take responsibility for your actions, seek forgiveness and make amends, if that is necessary and appropriate. But they have a harder time forgiving someone who refuses to admit they have made a mistake or behaved as a hypocrite.
When you start to show humility and become more authentic toward others, you will get exactly that in return.
Let these verses from Psalm 103:8-14 be an encouragement to you:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who [a] fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who [b] fear Him.
For He Himself knows [c] our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN
How can you do this?__________________________
How can you show others?_____________________
Your Brother and Friend,