Here’s the summary I prepared to be posted to EBC’s website, based off the sermon I preached this past Sunday, enjoy:
Does tolerant really equal “agreement” or “approval?” Most people today would say so, but that’s not really what tolerance is. Think about it: If you simply gloss over differences, then why do you need to be tolerant at all, since there aren’t any differences to tolerate anymore! Those who are not Christians often quote Jesus saying “Don’t judge, or you’ll be judged “ (Mt. 7:1), but does that really mean that we should never call anything “wrong” or “sinful?”
In Mt. 7:1-6 Jesus teaches that we will be judged by the same standard we judge others. He uses the metaphor of performing eye surgery to remove a splinter from your brother’s eye while ignoring the fact that there’s a log in your own eye. How ridiculous! But that’s just what we do when we judge or correct others without looking into the mirror at ourselves first to see if we’re guilty of the same thing. We’re told to enroll in “log rehab” and to deal with our own log before removing the splinter from our brother’s eye. That doesn’t mean we ignore splinters and sin in people around us, but it does mean that we acknowledge and repent of our own sin first.
In John 8:3-11 the Pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery before Jesus for sentencing (Jewish law says she should have been put to death). Jesus sees through their false motives and immediately recognizes that they don’t care at all about this woman, they’re simply trying to trap her while using her as bait. Jesus forces them to look in the mirror by saying “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Not surprisingly, every walks away. Jesus, left alone with the woman, doesn’t preach a convicting sermon to her, but simply says, “neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” What she needed was grace and love, and that’s exactly what Jesus gave her… but he did command her to leave her life of sin!
What about you? Do you criticize others without looking in the mirror? Next time you feel that critical spirit rising up, pause and ask yourself, “Am I noticing this in him/her because I’m guilty of the same thing but don’t want to admit it?” Don’t correct others without an open hand: If you’re not willing to help remove their splinter, then why are you going to point it out? Do something; be helpful. We live in a sinful and broken world, but pointing at every instance of sin and brokenness around you doesn’t change anything; doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8) is what brings about righteousness in our world today.
How do you do this:
First – Look in the Mirror: “Am I guilty of the same thing?”
- If you judge others for their homosexuality but you’re looking at pornography and aren’t actively investing in your marriage to make it pleasing to the Lord, then you need to look in the mirror.
- Parents, if you get frustrated when your kids are disrespectful, look in the mirror and think about the example you set by how you treat waiters or how you talk about people in the privacy of your home, then look in the mirror.
- Students, if you get frustrated with people who cheat on tests but you copy homework from your friends, you need to look in the mirror.
Second – Remove the Log from Your Own Eye: “Am I leading the way in repentance and humility?”
- Be an example of Humility: If you don’t lead the way in repentance and humility, why should anyone want your help?
- Warning: Don’t leave “Log Rehab” too soon… but don’t move there permanently either. You don’t need to wait until you’re perfect (that’ll never happen this side of eternity), but you do need to be actively dealing with your sin. But you don’t need to do it alone!
Third – Remove the Splinter from Your Brother’s Eye: “How can I help?”