"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)
What does Jesus mean when he calls people not to judge others? Does he mean he wants us to be undiscriminating between what is right and wrong? Or does he mean to simply keep your comments about right and wrong to yourself? Or to live in such as way where we don't care how other people live at all? Is he telling us to just leave others alone? Well, when we read the statement in context Jesus actually said something quite different than most people imagine. According to the remainder of the passage Jesus is saying that when we confront other people's sin, we should always keep in mind our own ... we then speak from a posture of humility, love and empathy. Jesus does not say, "forget about it" but says "first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." So he clearly isn't telling us to ignore the sins of others but to remind ourselves of our own condition before saying anything. So does taking the speck out of our own eye mean that we must first be sinless ourselves if we are to be qualified to help others our of their bondage? ... no the Bible is indicating that we are to always approach other sinners on equal ground recognizing that we are likewise only saved by grace alone, by God's good pleasure, and nothing more. We have nothing over anyone else ... so remember that when we bring the good news of the gospel to others.
Anyone who confesses the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone sees other people's sin in light of their own. They recognize that "but by the grace of God, there I go." It is grace alone which saved us and grace which preserves us. Such a view makes certain that we cannot be like the unforgiving servant who goes out and "chokes" their fellow man (Matt. 18:21-35), when our own [forgiven] debt far exceeds theirs. When we understand grace like this, we can say with conviction that "my sin certainly outweighs that of the most sinners", so in light of God's grace, we only hold out the gospel to them in full awareness of our own sin and weakness. That is what it means to first take the log out of your own eye.