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Saw Dust and Supporting Beams

“Judge not and you will not be judged.” Some people mistakenly take this to mean that one should not judge at all. If this were the case then Christians could not work as judges, police, counsellors etc. In fact, in other parts of the New Testament the Church is called to make judgments about people within the church. What is being prohibited is not the suspension of all judgment but rather the nit-picking kind of the Pharisees.

This is supported in the wisdom parables in Luke 6:39-42. In the first we are told we need to judge who we follow as learners. If we follow a spiritually blind person then we will be led by them and fall into a pit! Choose carefully whom you follow because you will become like the person that you follow. In the second parable we are told that before becoming teachers ourselves we should in fact judge ourselves. Jesus paints a comical picture of a man attempting to remove a speck of saw dust from his brother’s eye while at the time having the supporting beam of a house in his own eye. The work called for is to remove the supporting beam from one’s own eye and then to help one’s brother remove the speck.

We are to avoid hypocritical nit-picking but not honest judgment which begins with ourselves.