An Inconvenient Truth
“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."
Do you know people who seem to make a hobby out of finding fault in others? Sometimes I'm like that … are you? Why we have become such a hypercritical society I don't know, but it seems to show up everywhere: television, cable news, websites, magazines, Sunday school, youth group, etc. We invest a lot of our words and thoughts into this hobby of finding fault in others when the inconvenient truth is we have plenty of faults of our own. Thomas Adams once said, "Many are like barbers that trim all men but themselves."
Notice that Jesus does NOT call His followers to refrain from discernment. If we see something in the life of a brother or sister in Christ that is not appropriate, we should lovingly discuss it with them and help them move towards repentance and a better way forward (Galatians 6:1). What Jesus is talking about is a hypocritical FOCUS on such things without an honest assessment of your own condition.
I don’t know about you, but I have a Ph.D. in everyone else’s sin but only a GED when it comes to my own!
Most of us are far too tolerant of our own sin and completely intolerant of the sins of those around us. Again, Jesus' main point in this passage is not the person with the speck, but the hypocrite with the log. In the end, all of us should repent more and criticize less. Oswald Chambers nailed this one on the head when he said:
"Criticism leaves you with the flattering unction that you are a superior person. It is impossible to develop the characteristics of a saint and maintain a critical attitude."
Can I get an amen, my fellow Ph.D.’s?