Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
Read: Matthew 7
Consider: Very few of us have 20:20 vision. We might be short-sighted or long-sighted. Even those who have never worn glasses may find that their eyesight deteriorates as they get older and they hear the optician’s dreaded words “You need reading glasses”.
The problem is that while our physical eyesight can be tested and corrected, our spiritual eyesight cannot. What Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:1-5 is a spiritual blindness that tolerates sin in ourselves, while being intolerant of it in others. Jesus describes a situation where a person tells their brother that there is a speck in his eye, while all the time having a plank in their own. Of course Jesus is not talking about a physical speck and plank. He is talking about spiritual things here and specifically the fact that we can be aware of other people’s sins, while ignoring our own. If you think about it for a minute you will recognise yourself in this description.
Interestingly Jesus says that the person looks at the speck in their brother’s eye, while not paying attention to the plank in their own. They are obviously aware spiritually of the other person’s problem, but are willing to ‘pay no attention to’ (ignore) the sin that is evident in their own life. The sin should be and probably is evident to themselves, may be evident to others, but will always be evident to God.
In verse 5 Jesus has strong words for those who judge others, while themselves tolerating sin in their own lives. Jesus says to them (and us) ‘You hypocrite’. Hard words to take?
The key to helping others spiritually is to ensure that there are no hidden sins in our lives that prevent us seeing clearly. These sins must be faced up to and repented of, seeking God’s forgiveness. Jesus says: ‘… first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye’.
Pray: Father, forgive us for tolerating sin in our own lives, while being quick to point it out in others. Help us to confess these sins and seek your forgiveness. Amen