There is a court term called “Clean Hands”.
It means that if you want to sue someone, you have to be innocent. You have to have clean hands, because if someone is able to accuse you of something, you have no right to accuse others.
While “Judge not, that you be not judged” is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible, because people mainly want to think that whenever we speak about sin (primarily their own pet sin), that we are judging, there is a distinct difference between judgement and conviction.
We must speak truth!
When Jesus said, ““You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” we can say with certainty that adultery is sin. By saying this we haven’t judged anyone, rather the Word of God convicted them long before!
(and this is a big however)
Before we go out and start confronting people about their sin, we have to read on!
Please let me say this again – we must read on!!!
After Jesus warned that by the same measure we judge others we will be judged, He said that if we confront a brother about his sin, we have to have clean hands.
Jesus never said that we shouldn’t confront a brother. In fact, we see in the Word, in other places, that we have the responsibility to confront a brother in sin and by doing so may save him from hell. However, if we confront a brother, and we harbor a secret sin, this act is a greater sin than the sin we are confronting!
Because the judgement in our heart is rooted in pride! We see his sin and assume that our own sin isn’t a problem. We want to remove his sin, while at the same time wishing everyone would leave ours alone!
(Ummmm….sorry. Is this a little hard to read? I can write this because I’ve been in this condition before!)
This is why I am always a little concerned when Christians say that they have the right to confront others in a very direct manner, “Because look how Jesus confronted the Pharisees….”
We have to ask ourselves:
1. Is my heart as clean as Jesus’ heart so that I can – without sin – say what I want to say? I’d say about 99.9% of the time its not.
2. Do I love this person from the depths of my heart. Because if I don’t, it will be impossible for me to speak the truth in love – an absence of love is sin in itself.
3. If the Word says, ““The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”, then we must be 100% certain that God is speaking through us, that we truly are pure before Him and that no area – out of pride – is hidden from Him!
Because if we don’t have clean hands, then we are guilty of judging and Jesus says, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
I have to say that I have been been judged this way. With great liberty I judged those around me…and then one day I experienced that same judgement. I knew the reason why…
I repented and it is my sincere prayer that I learned the lesson Jesus taught in Matthew 7 – Clean Hands!