Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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. Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5 (MSG)
Those of us who grew up in the church will be familiar with the first version of the passage above; the second gives a modern perspective. It is easy to pass judgement
on someone, but regardless of how fleetingly we do so or how harmless we think it
is (after all, no one knows our thoughts), it’s just not a good habit to have.
I used to be very critical—incredulous at seeing someone or something that was incongruent with what I believed to be right. A person’s physical appearance, character flaws, and other failings are sometimes subject to negative scrutiny. We all give that glance or shocked look when something doesn’t meet our satisfaction. The judgement occurs when we linger and begin to form a negative opinion. But who says we have to give our stamp of approval?
A while ago, I met a young man who was well-groomed, articulate, and smart as evidenced by his conversation with me. Our meeting was brief, and as he spoke I
found myself saying a silent prayer that he would stay strong to withstand any ill
wind that blew his way. When the conversation ended and he turned away, I saw that his pants were hanging low from his hips and his briefs were peeking out from below his shirt, yikes! Shaking my head, I reflected on our exchange and the impression I had of him, which was in contrast to his backside. Bong, bong…judgement! Sure, his fashion style was jarring to the eye, but the emphasis should be about his character.
There are countless ways we observe others unfavorably, which gets worse when folks voice their thoughts as shown through the shading and body shaming on social media. However, most people are loved and are okay with themselves anyway. Ironically, sometimes the joke is on us because while we are judging others, they are doing the same to us! As the saying goes, "When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you."
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” I have applied this concept to people as well, so now I try to find something complimentary to focus on or simply look away. We all can take the planks out of our eyes by changing our critical view of the world and going about our day with expressions of kindness and compassion for everyone to see. Hopefully, this will