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? 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? 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 (ESV)
This is one of Jesus more painful teachings. He’s letting his hearers know how hypocritical they can be. Every time I read this passage I am reminded of the regular need for honest self-examination. I am especially aware of this passage every time I start riding my high horse, or find a new dead horse to beat.
We’re are capable of seeing everyone else’s error quicker than we see our own. Jesus wants us to learn to see more clearly. If our vision remains obscured we are of no help to anyone, no matter how great a truth we may be sharing.
What obscures our vision? Lack of control in our own lives, is what I believe leads us to seek to show others how they need to get control in their lives. The truth is when we look on others with a judgmental attitude, we are on the outside looking in. What Jesus wants is for us to be looking from the inside out. Jesus knows every heart, and he wants us to know what’s in our own hearts before we start judging what’s going on in someone else’s heart.
Personally, I know that when I am most judgmental of others it is because there are things in my life I need to take care of, but its easier to show others their faults than it is to deal with mine. Self examination is the starting point to making changes in ourselves so when can better help others with the changes they are trying to make in their lives.
May we always remember we are not on a fault finding mission for Christ, but seeking those that are lost, and leading them to him. We can best accomplish this mission by getting our bearings first. As we work together we are helping one another to be what Jesus wants us to be. Let’s bear one another’s burdens and stop heaping ours on others.
© 2015 Leo J. Woodman