Jesus is the speaker in these verses. He starts off with a caution to judge not or risk being judged with the same kind of judgment that we give others. This by itself would prompt us to judge others with kindness. But, then, there is always the ‘criticizer’ who finds fault with everything and everyone. I doubt that these people actually think of themselves as better than
others. For example, there are those who find fault in others because that’s what they expect in return. Years ago, I met a woman in my new neighborhood. On that first meeting, she began to tell me about the rest of the neighborhood, none of it good. She talked about others first because she was sure that they talked about her. That was her expectation. Reacting to her with love and kindness and the loveliness and generosity that is hiding behind this defense mechanism came out. The trick here is to remember that everyone has faults. The old saying is “Lifeless, faultless.” Only a dead person is faultless.
Charles Spurgeon has said that every head has a soft place and every heart has a black drop.
The third verse goes on to ask why people find fault in others and don’t take a hard look at themselves. In college while taking a psychology course, the instructor made the remark that the faults people find in others are the faults they refuse to see in themselves. What an awakening! I can assure you that after that, I was careful about what I had to say about others. Sometimes we learn about ourselves from the most unexpected places.
James 3:3-8 gives an account of how man has tamed beasts, guided great ships and extinguished fires. Yet, the tongue continues to ‘lash unsuspecting backs and bruise innocent hearts’. As Jesus points out, it is better for us to judge
ourselves rigidly and others leniently.