“First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Jesus – Matthew 7:5)
Yesterday, we talked about how easy it is to be a judgmental person – without even being aware of it. This was the focus of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1-5.
He uses a very interesting (absurd and comical) illustration to help us see our problem. Jesus compares a judgmental attitude with a person who has a log in his eye. He looks around and sees a speck in his “brother’s” eye (7:3), but cannot seem to grasp the much larger issue in his own eye.
What I find interesting is that Jesus is not condemning the practice of seeing, and removing, specks in eyes. He is just warning us of the attitude of those who place themselves in the position of judging those who have specks in their eyes.
Clearly, having unobstructed eyes is a good and desirable thing (7:5). But we must all be wary of placing ourselves in a position of superiority to someone else. In other words, the bigger problem arises when we look down on another person and judge them for their slightest struggles and failures. This is how logs get in our own eyes.
It should be pointed out that everybody has to make judgments every day. We have to judge whether an activity, or a word, or a thought is right or wrong. We DO have standards that we are to use in determining our own decisions and behaviors.
Jesus is not talking about this kind of judgment.
He is talking about judgment that makes you out to be god ruling over someone else – occupying the place that only The God deserves to have. Jesus’ point is that none of us are qualified to judge anyone else. None of us have earned that right — no matter how right we think we are.
God calls each of us to love as He loves. And, according to the New Testament, that is our only option when it comes to dealing with any person whom we think just might deserve our criticism, or judgment.
We need to remember the definition of mercy: it is not getting what you deserve. And we are all called to be living examples of God’s mercy. Every day. In every situation.
Jesus is actually encouraging us to remove specks from eyes – so that everyone can see as they should. To do this properly is simply a matter of our motivation. It is the reason behind removing specks that makes the difference.
Jesus calls us to do all things in love. Come alongside and be a servant to one who has an issue or struggle. We do not put them in their place – we put ourselves in their place… and serve them, gently and tenderly (as we would want to be treated).
This is exactly what Jesus did with us.
It is what we are all called to do with any brother who may have a “speck in their eye.”
Prayer focus: “God, help me to live as an everyday example of Your mercy.