Sunday July 24, 2022 | Greg Boyd
“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.
We get off the “high horse” by not judging others or seeing ourselves as superior to them. We also get off the high horse by living relationship with others and having the humility to receive feedback from them.
This sermon is comprised of two parts. The first is a short reflection on Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 13 that “Love never ends.” This is the only thing in the world that we can describe as never ending. There are other things that are good, but only love is eternal. When God wraps up this current age and establishes his kingdom in fullness, there will be nothing that is inconsistent with that love. When the completeness of God’s love comes, everything that is contrary to love must be done away. This means that our love is the only thing we take with us. Everything that is contrary to love must be burned away
When the final judgment comes, God’s love will be like a fire that will purify all that is inconsistent with love of God. Insofar as the character we’ve formed is consistent with God’s other-oriented, self-sacrificial love, we will receive a reward. Our reward is our increased capacity to receive and participate in the love of God. Insofar as the character we’ve formed is not consistent with God’s love, we suffer loss because we have a diminished capacity to receive and participate in the love of God.
Therefore, we must ask: how can I more perfectly demonstrate other-oriented, self-sacrificial love to my spouse, friends, children, grandchildren, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers and opponents?
The second part of the sermon returns to the focus passage of this series, Matthew 7:1-5. We are called to love, welcome, and embrace all people as they are. We see this in verses four and five. We cannot be of help to others if we approach them with any sense of superiority. If we want to help others, we must come to them in humility. We must understand that we have a log in our own eye when we are trying to help people with their speck.
The early church experienced this kind of life, as illustrated by the 57 “one-another” statements found in the New Testament. In the context of relational house churches, people shared life together and invited each other to speak into their lives to address the specks that limited their vision. This is not judgement. It is a way to walk together in following Christ in relationship.
In God’s kingdom, we must get off our judgement “high horse,” refusing to sit in judgment of others with whom we have no relationship. At the same time, we must get off our “high horse” that keeps us isolated and assumes that we are beyond the need of input from others who care about us. We are called to challenge one another to live in love and prepare for the end where the love we bring is the only thing that will endure.