Let me ask you a question: Have you ever looked down on someone else who is not as holy as you are? To be honest, we have all done that at one time or another. In fact, some saints do it all the time!
One of the greatest traps the enemy sets for God’s saints, especially those who are trying to live a holy life, is to get them to start looking down on others who are not living as holy as they are. You see, if the devil can’t get you to live in sin, then he will get you to despise everyone else who does not seem to be living at the same level of righteousness or holiness as you are. If you fall into this trap, before you know it you will be judging every other person around you. In fact, the enemy will tell you how spiritual you are because you are able to see the sins in everyone else’s life. That is how the devil tries to snare God’s people and deceive them into thinking they are more righteous and more holy than anyone else.
What did the Lord Jesus have to say about this? He said:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Matthew 7:! NKJV.
That is a pretty strong statement to make! The reason Jesus said this is because this is one of the greatest traps that God’s people seem to fall into all the time. In your zeal to live a holy life before God, you need to recognize this trap and learn to avoid it every time you are tempted to fall into it.
Now the Lord Jesus had more to say about this:
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”
Years ago, I asked the Lord why Jesus was so sure that a plank was in our eye if we judge someone else, and what is that plank? The Holy Spirit told me that the plank is self-righteousness. He told me that when you look down on others and think of yourself as more righteous as they are, that is self-righteousness. In fact, this is true when you think you are better, or more spiritual than someone else. This is true, even if you are only referring to one other person!
It is so important for you, as a saint, to avoid falling into this trap, because it will keep you from walking in love toward everyone else around you. The Apostle Peter put it this way:
“And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.'” 1 Peter 4:8 NKJV.
You may have heard the expression: Hate the sin, but love the sinner. As a saint, you are called to love others, even when they are not living a holy life. Often, however, God’s people judge others over every little speck in that person’s life, even when it isn’t open sin. This is what Jesus was warning about in our opening text.
What do you do when you see something wrong in someone’s life, and you want to help them get rid of it? Jesus gave the answer, when He said:
“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5 NKJV.
If you understand that the plank Jesus was referring to was self-righteousness, then you can understand that you need to first stop thinking you are better than the person you are trying to help. That is the plank that is keeping you from helping that other person. That is why you need to walk in humility – you are not better than anyone else! Your righteousness and holiness comes from God. He is the one who has made you righteous and holy. Your righteousness and holiness is before God and God alone. This means that, when you try to help others, who are trapped in sin, you need to walk in love toward that person, and do not consider yourself more righteous or holy than they are. Consider this: Jesus had to die on the cross for your sins. just as much as He had to die for theirs. You are no greater than they are!
If you understand what I am sharing with you, then you will also understand why the Lord Jesus warned us so strongly against judging others. The trap always comes when we try to compare ourselves with those around us. Do not compare yourself with anyone else, and you will never fall into this trap. In fact, when you compare yourself with someone else, you will do one of two things: you will either see yourself as better than that person, or see yourself as worse than that person. Both are a trap of the enemy, for you will either look down on that other person, or look down on yourself, and think that you are not as good as someone else, which often leads to self-pity and discouragement. Again, the answer is simple: Do not compare yourself with anyone else. God loves you, and has accepted you, just the way you are, and that is the only thing that should matter to you.
You are holy, dear saint!
Next week we will look at: The Mind Of A Saint.