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    Matthew 7:1-5 (NKJV)
    1 “ Judge not, that you be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
    3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
    4 Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
    5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
    These verses are speaking about judgment. On the surface, it appears that to rectify our own judgment of others, we just need to remove that plank or beam from our own eye. Seems easy enough until you try. This is where we learn a very important principle of scripture....more easily said than done. To really understand any truth from scripture, you must DO the word and not just hear or read it only. There is a depth to truth that is not easily understood until it is put into action.

    Let's take a closer look at this scripture as a classic example of this principle. The language seems easy enough. Metaphors are being used to describe judgment. Judgment, in this case is likened to a sliver of wood and a plank or beam of wood. Elsewhere in scripture, we have an interpretation of what "wood" is representative of besides the judgment that is shown here.
    1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NKJV)
    For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
    13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
    14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
    15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
    Here, wood, hay & straw represent those things that the fires of testing and trials will burn up. In other words, that which is PERISHABLE. The things of God's kingdom is likened to gold, silver & precious stones...those things which are purified in the fire. So wood, hay & straw represent the works of the flesh which will perish in the fires of trials and testings leaving one with a loss.

    Now in Matthew, judgment is likened to the works of the flesh. All works, whether of the flesh or of the Spirit come forth from the heart.
    Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV)
    Keep your heart with all diligence,
    For out of it spring the issues of life.

    Matthew 12:35-37 (NKJV)
    A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
    36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
    37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
    Here, we see clearly that whatever is in the heart, the mouth speaks and the soul acts upon. In order to remove judgment or that beam or plank and sliver from the eye, it is necessary to change the heart. Now let us look at what the scripture says about the heart...
    Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)
    “The heart is deceitful above all things,
    And desperately wicked;
    Who can know it?
    10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
    I test the mind,
    Even to give every man according to his ways,
    According to the fruit of his doings.

    James 3:8 (NKJV)
    But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
    What have we learned so far? The heart is deceitful and the words of our mouth comes from that deceitful heart. We also see that the tongue cannot be ruled over by mankind. This implies that man cannot rule his own deceitful heart. It appears that any attempt at trying to remove that sliver or beam/plank is going to be met with futility. You see, man has tried through countless generations to change their own ways, even for those who tried in vain to live according to all the law. All have failed with only one notable exception, Jesus Christ. He is the only person to live out His entire life without sin. He gave Himself to be a substitute for us, for our sin and in so doing, took our sin upon Himself. He received the punishment for our sin, which is death. He became a curse so we would be free!

    No matter what we do or how hard we try, we cannot change our own heart. We are completely unable to forgive our own sin. Only God can forgive us our sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. This means, we cannot remove that sliver or beam or plank from either our own eye or the eye of our brother. The only way these can be removed is to confess them as sin, a sin of the heart. By seeking forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice for our sin, we can finally be set free from that evil heart that has judgment inside it. When we confess our sin to Him, this is what He does...
    1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
    If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    Looking at Matthew 7 regarding judgment and the removal of the sliver and plank takes on a whole new meaning now that we have walked it out in our own lives. We learned that what appeared on the surface to be easy actually involved more truth and with that known truth, we are truly made free. Now, when I see a sliver in my brother's eye, I know immediately that I do not have the power to remove this sliver myself but must point to the only One who can and that is Jesus the Christ. I CAN share of my own testimony of His mercy and goodness and through that testimony, my brother may believe and seek forgiveness from Jesus Himself and in doing so, Jesus will remove their sliver, their sin.

    Today, when you take up the bible to casually read His word, consider this truth, only experienced truth or known truth can truly make you free. A casual read reveals only the surface truth but by walking it out, that truth will reveal to you true freedom.

    Jerry Sundberg

    Soon after I received the Lord in 1976, I started receiving prophetic visions and warnings about the future of the church and the United States. I share my visions on my Hidden Manna websites and offer free of charge my two ebooks entitled “Hidden Manna” and “Hidden Manna 2”.

    Website: Hidden Manna

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