Luke 6:37-42 (ESV)
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.”
Remember, Jesus is speaking to His disciples. Everyone listening to this message is a serious Christian – super serious. The striking thing about his passage is what the first paragraph assumes. They fear judgment. They fear condemnation. They need forgiveness. They need gifts.
The first step toward being non-judgmental isn’t to work on not judging; it’s to fear judgment. Before we can understand how to not condemn, we need to fear condemnation. We must see our need for forgiveness. We must recognize our neediness.
If we just try to be generous, forgiving, not judging, and not condemning, we miss the point. That produces the kind of “holier than thou” Christians that nobody likes. Substituting our efforts for the transforming power of the Holy Spirit gets us stuck in the rut of legalism.
One of the magnificent things about growing in Christ is that our eyes are steadily opened to how much we need Him. I came to faith recognizing dozens of sins. A few years later, I could see hundreds. That was progress, but it sure didn’t feel like progress. It felt like I was losing ground.
In reality, I was gaining ground. The key to sin is that it blinds us to our sinfulness. It couldn’t survive any other way. If we could see the ugliness of our sin, we would change in an instant.
But we can’t cure this ourselves; only the Holy Spirit can.
This sets up the parable in the second paragraph, which is all about the importance of teachers.
This cannot be over-emphasized. Christianity is all about teaching and learning. “Disciple” means student. A church’s most critical function is as a learning center. People usually judge a church by the preaching, or the worship music, or the outreach programs. That’s because these things are the most visible.
But the teaching, especially the children’s education, has more impact. And the key to excellent teaching is teachers who know what they’re doing. Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
Solid teachers graduate solid disciples.
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