“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 7:5 NASB
This scripture has been speaking to me in a new way and I will tell you why.
When Jesus spoke these words, He had been teaching the people who were present for His sermon on the mount. From Matthew chapter 5 through chapter 7, the knowledge Jesus shared encompassed truth regarding God’s kingdom, how people are to relate to God and to one another, faith, prayer, marriage, the purpose of His coming to earth, giving to the poor, fasting, how to live free from anxiety, discerning good from evil, the way to life vs the path to destruction, and the correct way to build an unshakable foundation of faith. You can spend weeks studying these two chapters and have a feast to chew on for years to come. Matthew chapter 7 concludes with these words:
“…the crowds were amazed at His teaching, for He taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.” Matthew 7:28b – 29
You just know when you are listening to someone who knows what they are talking about. There is a difference in the way they deliver their words. Not only is there conviction and confidence in what they speak, there is power.
The conversations and encounters that have made a lasting impact on my life have come from such people. These are fellow believers who have walked the path I’m on and can relate to my struggle. They understand my pain or confusion because they have experienced similar feelings. Instead of blasting me for my weakness, they lovingly point me in the direction of God, right where I am, showing the compassion and mercy I so desperately need. Even if it’s correction, the people who have received the loving conviction of God turn around and extend that same loving conviction to me.
When God has been merciful to me with my sins and failures, how can I turn around and condemn someone else for theirs?
So, back to the verse Matthew 7:5 and what it means to me:
When I get real with God and allow Him to work in my life, I’m giving Him the green light to have His way. He teaches me right from wrong in every situation; He gives me wisdom and direction, encouragement and peace. I let Him have access to all the dark, fearful or ugly aspects of my life and He in turn showers me with mercy, love and grace. He is conforming me to the image of Christ, turning me into something beautiful out of the ashes of my former self. And I in turn want to point others to God and all of His goodness.
When we care more about helping someone than judging them, then we are prepared to offer assitance for the speck of dirt in their eye:
Matthew 7:3-5 The Message (MSG)
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.