“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 7:5, NKJV
As Christians, we are made aware of sin due to our exposure to the Law (Romans 3:20), and, as we progress as a Christian, the Holy Spirit continually heightens this awareness. At the same time, He heightens our awareness of sin in our own lives and the battle with our flesh intensifies.
As we valiantly engage in this battle each day, we often tend to rush to judge others without first considering their level of ‘sin awareness’. While fellow Christians have some level of awareness, unbelievers lack it altogether given their lack of exposure to God’s standard of righteous judgment–the Law.
Furthermore, in the process of judging others, we tend to compare sins. However, in the verse above, Jesus tell us that we must address our own sin, regardless of its magnitude, before judging others. When we remove the sin in our own lives in accordance with God’s standard of righteous judgment, our judgment of others is not clouded by our sense of rationalization (i.e. “his/her sin is far greater than mine, so I am justified in my criticism”).
The beauty of this process is that, when our judgment comes from a righteous, compassionate heart, we are compelled to help others address and remove the sin from their own life in a more loving way without compromising God’s standard of righteous judgment. In turn, when we stand side-by-side with them before God on Judgment Day and hear Jesus declare, “Well done, they good and faithful servants”, they will truly know the love we had for them.