Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
The Imperfect Forgiven
I had a man once tell me that the church is full of hypocrites and that he would never go there. I told him, “There’s always room for one more.” Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but this man had been ranting at me incessantly and accusing Christians about a lot of things and had made a lot of sweeping generalizations about Christians in churches so as to say that “all Christians” are like that. I was disagreeing with him and made that statement to make my point. There is no one I know in the church where a pastor at that claims to be perfect. If this man finds a perfect church, I would say, “Don’t join it. You’ll ruin it.” Even so, I admit that I have been hypocritical at times, but I later confessed it to God and apologized to those whom I offended. The church is if full of imperfect people, but those who go there are perfectly forgiven (2 Cor. 5:21).
The Religious Hypocrites
Jesus often got angry at the religious leaders because they would honor God with their lips, but their hearts were far removed from God and taught their own traditions as equal to God’s law (Isaiah 29:13; Matt. 15:-89). Instead of my jumping on them with judgment and saying “How dare they do that,” I ask, “How am I like that?” They looked good on the outside, all religious looking and all, but inside they were dead as those who lived in the cemetery (Matt. 23:27). But how faithful am I living out the advice I give to others? All the religious leaders wanted to do was appear righteous and have people admire them (Matt. 23:5), and I have that tendency, too. How about you? God doesn’t want anymore religious people. He wants disciples after His own heart, which means that we should admit we’re sinners or we make God out to be a liar (1 John 1:10), and that’s not good, to say the least. Transparency is important because we’re supposed to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16) so we won’t ever feel “holier than thou.”
Remove the Plank
Jesus was using hyperbole or extreme exaggeration to make a point–someone criticizing another for having a speck of sawdust in their eye when the other had a telephone pole in their own eye (Matt. 7:3). I had a guy condemning a new Christian because he was doing something that the Bible was silent on because he thought that “something” was sin. I told him that we’re all at different stages in our Christian walk, and sanctification takes time. I told him that I knew of a part of town where he could go where there was no drinking allowed, no one smoked, there was no dancing to music, and no one even played cards. They call it the cemetery. So my question for you and for myself is how faithful are we to live out the advice we give to others? That’s a pretty convicting question for me. What about you? You know what? When you remove the plank from your own eye, you can sure see a lot better!
A Closing Prayer
God, my Father, please forgive me when I have played judge and jury and unfairly judged someone else when I myself was doing the exact same thing (or worse!). Thank You for your patience with me, and help me to not judge my brother or sister when I have a beam in my own eye. In Jesus’ name I pray.
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