Luke 6: 37 – 49 NLT
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? 40 Students[d] are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
41 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[e] when you have a log in your own? 42 How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
43 “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44 A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.
46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? 47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. 48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
Jesus warns us not to become too proud of ourselves, thinking we are following him superbly. “Do not judge others”. (v. 37) I don’t think that means we should accept any behaviour as OK. Sin is sin. We can speak out against things that are wrong – for example, we can speak out against abortion. We don’t condone stealing, cheating, lying, etc. But, we don’t look down on the people who do, we don’t dismiss them as unwanted, horrible people. Again, we need to remember that God loved us completely despite our own sin.
If we forget that we too are sinners and not worthy of God’s love, we can become like the examples Jesus gives in these verses. Just how effective would it be if a blind person offered to help another blind person navigate a rocky terrain or crowded area? How do you dare to help someone else with an eye problem when your problem is even worse? If somehow, we get the notion that we are very good people because we have been following God by going to church and doing good deeds – actually rather proud of ourselves and what we’ve accomplished … we are that blind person pretending to lead another, or that person who really can’t see because of the log/pride in their eye.
We need to truly understand that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”. (Romans 3: 23) We also need to know that we are loved by God despite our sin. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Romans 8: 38 – 39)
When we comprehend how much God loves us and how much he has forgiven us, then we can be that loving person who doesn’t judge someone else and look down on them. Then we are that person who is like a good tree – a tree that produces fruit. That core of our being depends on God and as a result reflects him to whoever we are with. When we think we’re pretty good on our own, we’re like the rotten tree, incapable of producing anything worthwhile.
Jesus uses another illustration of his point. You can be built on a solid foundation and survive any cataclysmic events that come along. But if you are built on a flimsy foundation – nothing good will come from it. Who or what is that foundation? Jesus! Our dependence on him!
Our song for today is We All Need Jesus by Danny Gokey ft Koryn Hawthorne