The word “judge” in this place is translated from a Greek word, KRINO, also found in such passages as:
- John 12:48
- Acts 17:31
- 2 Timothy 4:1
KRINO indicates that the type of judging forbidden in this place is that of presuming to determine salvation, or the lack of it, in others.
Not even Christ did this while on earth. “I came not to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47).
The exercise of such judgment is all the more sinful in that it is premature. “Judge nothing before the time” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
The widespread failure of otherwise devoted people to observe this injunction is tragically regrettable; and yet some insist on their right to judge others and defend it on the basis of Jesus’ words, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).
Discerning and judging, however, are two different things.
The Greek term for accounting, or thinking, with reference to another is HEGEOMAI.
HEGEOMAI makes a private, personal, and tentative appraisal of others is not forbidden; but “judging” is prohibited.
One who judges others is compared to a person presuming to cast a splinter out of his brother’s eye while a plank is in his own eye!
This is a vivid picture of a person who ignores his own grievous sins while trying to correct the relatively minor shortcomings of another.
The mote and the beam represent the disparity between that which is tiny, insignificant, almost invisible, and that which is obvious, flagrant, and obtrusive.
The deftness and accuracy of our Lord’s comparisons have never been even approached by other teachers.
A mote, although trifling and insignificant, can nevertheless be a serious and painful handicap when located in the eye.
Thus, Jesus cannot be charged with making even the slightest sin or fault a matter of indifference.
That is not the point under consideration.
The ridiculous picture of a man with a plank in his own eye casting a splinter out of his neighbor’s eye must have brought a chuckle from those who heard the Master’s words.
This shows that Christ does not minimize any moral fault, however tiny.
Judging and disposing of the faults of others is:
If one would truly aid another, his first consideration is to get the plank out of his own eye.
This means that he should prepare himself by acknowledging his own sins and turning to him alone who is the sinner’s friend. Any other method defeats itself.
Christ did not mean that Christians should keep a ledger, exactly calculating a precise number such as 490, or using a variant reading, 70 times and 7.
This simply means that a Christian must have the spiritual resources to keep on forgiving.
The business of forgiveness is so important that Christ immediately introduced one of his longest parables, “THE PARABLE OF THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT” in order to reinforce the teaching and repeat the absolute necessity of forgiveness at the conclusion of it.