From Luke 6, 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. … Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but you do not notice 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.’”

One of the first few times I heard this passage of scripture as a little kid, I remember being confused. The mental image of a log stuck in somebody’s eye was just weird! But once I had this analogy explained to me and I understood it, I remember feeling confused in a different way: was Jesus telling me this? It didn’t seem to apply to me- I didn’t think I even had anyone specific that I needed to forgive, and I knew I certainly wasn’t the kind of person to go around condemning people! I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I loved God and I loved other people; I surely wasn’t judgemental.

For years, this is how my thought process went. When my faith matured more, and my understanding of God’s Word had expanded some, I saw that this verse was in fact speaking to me, and not just ‘those judge-y Christians’ (who were they? I didn’t really know, but it couldn’t be me). I realized that I too desperately needed forgiveness- and that there were things I was holding onto that I needed to forgive others for. Even so, I couldn’t imagine that I had an entire proverbial plank in my eye.

When Pastor Davis spoke on Luke 6 last Sunday, I saw this passage in a light I hadn’t before, and I felt strongly convicted. I realized that even at that moment, as I was watching the other faces in the sanctuary, I had been judging people: whether they were taking notes or just listening, or reading off of their phones instead of a physical Bible, or what kind of person they might be based on what they wore, etc. I suddenly saw that I too was quick to judge others, even on arbitrary characteristics. Verse 38 of the chapter specifically stood out to me then: “For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

I saw that according to this passage, in everything I give, whether physical or non-physical, it will be returned to me in the same way. If that’s judgment, I will receive the same quick and maybe unjust judgements that I give. If that’s generosity and grace, I will be treated with the same heart as they see in my own actions towards others.

I also saw that ignoring the “plank” in my eye- my own sin that requires forgiveness and grace was only denying reality. I was arrogant to think that I was somehow exempt from Christ’s exhortation! Even though the weight of this realization was heavy, I remembered Romans 5:8: “But God shows us his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” How vast is the Father’s love for us! He extends His unmerited grace even to arrogant, “denying-the-plank-in-the-eye” sinners like me. Who am I to judge that someone is less, or more, deserving of God’s grace than I? For as it says in chapter 3 in Romans, we are all sinners, and all desperately in need of God’s forgiveness (Romans 3:23).

Judging others simply by the things I can see or perceive does nothing to further the Kingdom. I am commanded to love as Christ loved, and forgive as I have been forgiven. To give love, grace and forgiveness with the same measure as Christ uses. It is not an easy calling, but it is one of eternal reward, worth more than every mile walked on this earth.

Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”