Without doubt one of the most misquoted verses in the New Testament is Matthew 7:1. This passage is usually invoked when a person has done something evil, has been caught, and is facing disciplinary action. In Christian circles, there are far too many church members who use Matthew 7:1 as an escape clause for personal accountability.
In order to appreciate what Jesus is saying we must first address a larger question which is this: is it right to judge, expose error, and even call names? The Word of God must provide a Biblical answer and it does.
In his commentary on Matthew 7:1, Charles Spurgeon addresses the meaning of the text with these words. “
“Some people are of a censorious disposition; they see nothing in others to praise, but everything to blame, and such people generally find that they are condemned according to their own wicked rule. Other people begin to judge those who are so fond of judging. If they are so wise, and so discriminating, others expect more from them; and not finding it, they are not slow to condemn them. It is an old proverb that chickens come home to roost, and so they do. If you judge ill of others, that judgment will, sooner or later, come home to yourself.
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye! Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:3-5).
At the bottom of all censoriousness lies hypocrisy. An honest man would apply to himself the judgment which he exercises upon others, but it usually happens that those who are so busy spying out other people’s faults have no time to see their own; and what is this, at the bottom, but insincerity and hypocrisy?” (Matthew, C. H. Spurgeon).
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
“That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: “Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”
The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”