This particular piece of scripture stings every time I read it. It shouldn't. I shouldn't have to continually learn to be less critical; to work on self-correction before pointing out the speck in another's eye. You can probably relate. I don't say this because I am a defeatist. Not at all. I say this because this is a trap we all fall into. We don't like to look at our own shortcomings.
The bright side of this is that we don't have to rely on our own character to correct this. When we invest in a relationship with our Creator, we gain the benefits He offers; the authority, the characteristics, the love for others, and the list goes on.
This passage in Matthew wraps up in verse 12: Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.
This is the boomerang effect: Do unto others. I have learned a lot about judging others and I can confidently say that I often feel God's nudge when I'm in danger of falling into that trap. In the past, I was too arrogant to recognise or pay attention when God tapped me on the shoulder. Reading scripture and strengthening my relationship with Him has been the ultimate course-corrector. There is no other way.