Luke 6:37 ¶ “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6:39 ¶ He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?
Luke 6:40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Luke 6:41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Luke 6:42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
It really is too easy to read through Jesus’ teachings like they are pithy fortune cookie statements. The real adventure is looking at them together in context and seeing how they relate to one another. Even better, when you didn’t think one thing had to do with another, but the context show that they are all linked.
It looks, with a chopper’s view, that this selection is about judging others, forgiveness, generosity, leadership, and back to judgment again with the plank eye parable.
But what if these are all ways of teaching the same thing? There was a tradition among Rabbis to teach a concept with three stories (See Luke 15 and how the prodigal son is the conclusion to a trilogy) that different points of the same teaching.
These all go together because judgment, generosity, forgiveness, and leadership do all go together. By leaving judgment up to God, we show ourselves unqualified for such work and find it easier to forgive. By being generous with our forgiveness, we find that a lot more grace is shown back to us. You might know a real bitter and unforgiving person that is hard to forgive and not be bitter towards!
As we leave judgment to God and carry about His work of free forgiveness, we become like our teacher Jesus who preached the good news to the poor and the rich, to the needy and the entitled. When we look at the world through Jesus’ eyes, we see fewer planks and specks in others’.
I knew a guy that had a huge panther tattoo on his forehead. It’s claws made blood marks just above his eyebrows. If he caught you staring at it, he’d say, “I have a question: Did you ever do something before you became a Christian that you really wish you hadn’t done? Me too!” And then he’d laugh his head off. Like my plank and his speck, the more I learned about the Bible from that guy, the smaller that panther became.
“The Bible says not to judge” is true, and the context of that free statement is beautiful.