The fundamental no-no in contemporary society is “being judgmental.”
Unfortunately some people accuse others of “being judgmental” as a way of silencing what they have to say (no matter what they have to say), or as a way of shaming them into submission about what is happening. It can be a way of saying, ‘You’re not allowed to have an opinion about this unless I’m physically hurting someone, which I’m not.’
But as followers of Jesus, is there ever a time when it is actually appropriate to gently correct someone else?
In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Notice the order of operations. First, take the speck out of your own eye (i.e. deal with the sin in your own life), and only then will you “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (i.e. offer a gentle word of correction to someone else).
It’s tempting to do the second without the first, but it’s godly to do the first before the second.
In short, deal with your own sin first.
Do you see someone not acting in the public’s best interest and want to say something? First, ask yourself: Am I acting in the public’s best interest myself?
Do you see someone being careless with their words and want to say something? First, ask yourself: Am I being careful with my own words?
Do you see a fellow believer not following Jesus as closely as they should and want to say something? First, ask yourself: Am I following Jesus as closely as I should?
In a world that has lots of condemnation but little compassion, deal with your own sin first.
By Matthew Ruttan
–Today’s devotional is taken from my most recent sermon: “Responding to an age of polarization.” Click here to watch on YouTube.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.