“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “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? 4 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? 5 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.
6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Fun side-story: I actually have been torn to pieces by pigs. At least, one pig took one piece of me. One afternoon last summer I went out to do afternoon chores and saw that a sow had dropped piglets sooner than expected, so they were in with all the other pigs sans even a nest, which isn’t ideal. I could see one piglet wedged up beside the feed trough and thought it might be dead, and wanted to get eyes on the other piglets. I kept a wide berth because I knew the sow would be protective. What I didn’t count on was the dad being protective, even from my far-away stance. He gave me a warning gouge in the thigh. I let all the pigs know who was boss with some wild kicks and a lot of screaming (side side-story: I’ve won two other intimidation contests with boars; I don’t recommend it, you have to be ready-to-murder-with-your-bare-hands angry), and then drove myself to urgent care where I got my giant puncture wound and trailing gash cleaned and stitched up. Oh, the stupid piglet was totally fine, by the way.
I definitely tell this story to interns to boost my own bad-ass factor, as well as drive home how dangerous the pigs can be. But you know what this story really is? A series of stupid mistakes on my part. Stupid mistake number one: I know what keyed up pigs sounds like, and should have been paying more attention to the others, not just the sow. Stupid mistake number two: a few extra buckets of feed dumped on the ground well away from the piglet might have allowed me a better (safer) look at it. Stupidest mistake of all: trying to check on the piglet from inside the fence in the first place. That definitely should have been an evaluate-and-strategize-from-the-outside sort of job.
This whole judging others bit of the Sermon on the Mount is an invitation from Jesus to check our egos and our stupid. You do not throw your pearls to pigs, because they will trample them and they will turn on you. You also don’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk (a saying a first heard from my mother-in-law and absolutely adore). These metaphors are telling us to save our wisdom for those ready to hear it, and to recognize that we don’t have all the answers, or even all the facts to make the answers. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone off half-cocked, biting Chris’ head off for something I think he did. Just the other night I bitched at him for losing his temper with Betty over a little spilled milk while I was out of the room for less than a minute. Turns out, it wasn’t just an accident, she was being a little snot, pouring it on her dinner, and then throwing the sippy cup when Chris transferred said milk into a less pour-able container. We got in a huge fight, and I had to sheepishly apologize when I heard what had actually happened. I feel like these sort of slap-down reminders from God happen to me a lot when I act out of anger instead of taking the time to consider everything that might be going on.
The best piece of advice when it comes to not judging others, or reserving your wisdom for the right time, may come from The Big Lebowski. “New shit has come to light, man,” the Dude says, about a supposedly simple situation that just became a lot more complex. We need to make sure we understand the whole situation before we start preaching. In other words, don’t be like me: a maker of stupid mistakes and quick judgments that often leave me back-pedaling and apologizing, cleaning up messes both emotional and physical, and feeling pretty idiotic and petty. Be like the Dude: check your ego, check your stupid, and let all that shit come to light before you act on anything. Who knew the Dude would end up being a spiritual role model? God really does work in mysterious ways.