“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”–Matthew 7:3-5
A pastor was once speaking at a large conference in Washington. Being the main speaker, his sessions were always full and everyone was very attentive, except for one man. One man always sat in the same seat in the front row of his sessions, and halfway into the sermon he would fall asleep. The first time it happened, the pastor thought the man had experienced a tough day of driving to get to the conference and accidentally fell asleep. But night after night the same thing happened. Annoyed by the occurrence, the pastor had developed a bitter spirit toward this man. After the conference, the man’s wife approached the pastor and apologized for the man’s actions. As she explained, he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the new medicine made him drowsy. But his one wish was to hear that pastor preach before he died, so they had made the long, painful journey to be at the conference.—
Notice the parable Christ gives—“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” How often have we judged others about sins or shortcomings that are in our lives as well? Why can’t we see our own failures before seeing those of others?
Many times we ignore sin in our lives because we don’t want to deal with the sin. It’s easier to see the problems that other people have rather than dealing with our own problems. If we were honest with ourselves, we probably have more problems than the people we judge!
Notice the symbolism Jesus uses. While a mote refers to a dry stalk or twig, a piece of grass, or a straw; a beam refers to a large plank of wood, similar to a 2×4. Christ says, “While you’re scrutinizing the small issues of other people, there are large looming sins in your own life!”
Do you sometimes act like the Pharisees, pointing out the sins of others while ignoring sin in your life? Have you become accustomed to judging others without judging yourself? Take time today to open your heart before God and let Him judge you. Lay out your actions, thoughts, and motives before Him and pray as the Psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). The next time you’re tempted to point out someone else’s sins or failures, be reminded of your own shortcomings and pray that God will help both of you.–Paul Chappell