Limited Perception

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.”

Proverbs 21:2 says, “All deeds are right in the sight of the doer, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus says, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

The fourth citation is often misunderstood as an exhortation not to offer judgements at all. But if that what true, why does Jesus tell us to “first take the log out of your own eye?” The statements which follows implies that this first action then enables the person to be of true help. Dallas Willard, I think rightly, says that it is wrong for us to condemn but it is not wrong for us to offer a judgment, so long as a judgment is offered prayerfully and humbly, from a posture of love. Our confusion regarding what Jesus says here stems from a mix up: condemnation and judgment are not the same thing.

This bit of artwork has helped me, in that I’m reminded that I am limited in what I see. God, however, does see.

Don’t rush to judgment. Pray. Ask God for wisdom. Remove the log from your own eye. Ask God to help you help, and be humble. God sees more than you do.