“Judge not, that you be not judged,” says Jesus in Matthew 7:1.
We all like to judge. It’s actually how we construct a psyche and guard that psyche from pain. It’s why we all lust after knowledge of good and evil; it’s why we love religion. Through the law, the Jews were instructed to judge between good and evil, the sacred and the profane. For the Jew, the most profane of all animals was the pig, and the most despised was the dog.
Jesus says some stuff about looking for specks in the eyes of others when you’ve got a log in your own eye. And then he says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
How are we to know who the dogs and pigs are if we don’t “judge”?
The Greek word, krino, here translated “judge,” means “to decide.”
Every time you speak or hear a word, you decide what something is and place it in a category in your psyche, a box… or tomb.
Every time you see “something,” you judge it and construct a psyche.
It seems that we can’t help but judge; we’ve already taken the fruit from the tree.
Actually, Jesus didn’t simply say, “Don’t judge,” but more like, “Don’t judge if you don’t want to be judged.”
So, who would want to be judged?
How about every little child that paints a picture and says, “Mommy, do you like my picture?” How about King David, who cries out, “Judge me, Oh Lord,” in the Psalms. How about a carpenter who gets a piece of sawdust stuck in his eye? When I get a piece of sawdust stuck in my eye, I can’t see it—it’s in my eye—but I know it’s there because it hurts. And so, I want someone to look, judge, and help me get it out.
I want someone who knows me, has compassion on me, even identifies with me, and so is willing to die for me—I want that person to judge me.
Forgiveness is a judgment. “…With the judgment you pronounce you will be judged….” That’s the same as saying, “If you forgive, you will be forgiven. And if you refuse to forgive others their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” Whatever the case, it’s sheer insanity to wish “endless conscious torment” on anyone.
We construct a psyche just by looking at our world.
So, a speck in the eye is like a lie embedded in our psyche—we can’t see it; we only know that it’s there because everything hurts like hell.
Well, according to Jesus, the problem isn’t a “speck;” the problem is “the log.”
To be more precise, each of us has “the beam” or “the timber” in our eye.
A beam is a tree that’s been killed and then sawn into a particular shape for the sake of constructing something… like a cross. We each take knowledge of good and evil in order to make judgments and construct a psyche, an ego.
If I really had a beam in my eye, I would be blind, and all I would know is that everything hurt like hell. Which reminds me of our world right now. So, what do we do when everything hurts like hell and we don’t know why? We look for specks in our neighbors’ eyes.
We worry about who is, or isn’t, wearing a mask, voting for Trump, or having an affair, when in fact, each of us has taken the life of God from a tree in a garden…just to judge the specks in our neighbors’ eyes.
Jesus says, “Take the log out of your own eye.” But who will help me? Who doesn’t have a log in their own eye, but knows me, has compassion on me, identifies with me, and would even die for me?
Then Jesus says, “Don’t give dogs the holy thing.”
From the context, one would think that “what is holy”—“the holy thing”– is that beam.
In the Old Testament, the “most holy” thing is a devoted thing—the Sin Offering, the blood of which was sprinkled on the Most Holy Place in the Holy of Holies by the High Priest who was designated Most Holy. It’s “the Life” returned to the tree.
The Holy Thing is our sin surrendered to Jesus, Body broken and Blood shed; the Sin Offering, our High Priest, and the Slaughtered Lamb standing on the throne of God.
The Holy thing is your confession—a broken heart and a contrite spirit.
For Jesus, your confession is treasure. Pigs can’t recognize it and so trample it in the mud. For dogs, it’s just food for their own psyche.
I recognize dogs because I am one; I feed my ego with the failure of others.
On the cross, Jesus quoted Psalm 22.
“The dogs surround me; they have pierced my hands and feet.”
So, did Jesus give dogs “the holy thing?”
He didn’t simply say, “Don’t give dogs the holy thing,” but rather “Don’t give dogs the holy thing, and don’t throw your pearls to pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Jesus knew that the dogs would attack him and that the pigs would trample him, and still he chose to give his life; he cried, “Father, forgive,” and delivered up his Spirit.
And at that, a pig/dog—a Roman Centurion who had pierced our Lord’s hands and feet—that pig/dog dropped to his knees and confessed, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”
He was, and is, “The Pearl of Great Price.”
To make a pearl, God allows for a speck to be lodged in the flesh of an oyster, and then around that wound, he wraps a pearl.
To make a saint, God allows for us to sin, and so a lie is implanted in our psyche; and then around that wound, he wraps the righteousness of Christ.
“Where sin increased, Grace abounded all the more.”
Christ in you is the Pearl of Great Price. Right now, and to you, it may seem to be only a speck or a log. But our Lord, who is the End of Time, knows what it is—it’s treasure to be treasured to yourself in the Kingdom of Heaven. And it’s a door—a pearly gate—to the New Jerusalem. The Judgement we receive is the Judgment we pronounce. Let it be the Gospel of Grace: Jesus.
I’m learning to be grateful for my wound, even that which was self-inflicted. For without my wound, I wouldn’t know who I am, or who “I Am” is; I wouldn’t know Jesus in me or Jesus in you—Jesus in us, the Pearl of Great Price, the Body of Christ, the Kingdom of God.