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 7:3-5 NIV
“Don’t judge me” . . . It’s become a common expression. Its prominence has increased because our practice of judging others has become so commonplace.
Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to see the faults in others before we see them in ourselves? It’s easy to become an expert in examining others. Picking on people . . . jumping on their failures . . . criticizing their faults . . . Jesus warns us that if we engage in this with others, we should expect the same kind of treatment in return. The Message says this kind of “critical spirit has a way of boomeranging”. (Matt 7:2)
Jesus gives a stern caution as well as a simple consideration to help with this struggle.
Self Control. There’s great value in thinking before we speak. There is a quick evaluation that can take place before we express our opinions. James tells us, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” (Jam 1:26) The psalmist confesses his need, “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” (Ps 141:3 NLT).
Think before you speak.
Self Consideration. It’s easier for us to major on the minors . . . especially when the minor is with someone else and the major is in our own backyard. Jesus is very direct in saying, “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matt 7:5 NLT). There is a selfless and significant value in self-examination. In remembering the sacrifice of Jesus, Paul tells us, “But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.” (1 Cor 11:31 NLT).
Look in before you look out.
Self Correction. Sadly, other’s toothpicks are insignificant compared to our own trees. Our acknowledgement, acceptance and addressing of our shortcomings help us run in the lane of serving others. The psalmist acknowledged his own rebellious heart. (Ps 51:3) David writes, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Ps 51:17 NLT). James reminds us, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (Jam 1:22 NLT).
The wise walk in humility.
James gives us a tender caution, “For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” (Jam 1:23-24 NLT)
Today, look in the mirror before looking at others . . . Reflection before Rebuke. This can be a defining moment in our own discipleship.