BLINDED BY OUR OWN FAULTS
Lord, show me where I am missing it.
Read LUKE 6:37–42
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psa. 51:2,3).
What Christian makes no moral judgments? What person, for that matter? We must surely be alert to hypocrisy, abuse, and oppression. Judging between right and wrong highlights Christian maturity more than disputing ﬁne points of theology (Heb. 5:13—6:2). Jesus instructs us to recognize and deal with sin in the church (Matt. 18:15–17). If Jesus does not mean to never judge, what then does he mean? Two important observations help us here. First, Jesus is fond of hyperbole: exaggerated statements designed to jolt people into serious thought, as when he suggested to us to gouge out our own eyes (Matt. 5:29). Second, Luke here provides a condensation of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. Unless Jesus short-changes this large crowd with a 5-minute address, almost certainly he would explain each statement—so we must study what Jesus says elsewhere. What Jesus criticizes is our inclination to condemn others for their weaknesses and failures. In particular, he reserves his strongest condemnation for religious leaders, whose blindness to their own set of sins displays a shocking degree of hypocrisy and self-righteousness (Matt. 23:1–36).
Despite Jesus’ constant teaching that we should be a forgiving people, deeply conscious of our own sins and need of redemption, the church’s biggest failing throughout history has been the tendency to judge and then condemn. Society especially notices this when the church is itself publicly guilty. In Australia, the same-sex marriage debate immediately followed the inquiry into institutional sexual abuse, of which many clergy were found guilty. This severely weakened the reputation of the church and drained any moral authority it might have had. We are called to follow Jesus. When we fail, the “plank” (42) which clouds our vision must be dealt with before we dare to judge the failings of others.
“Save us from weak resignation / to the evils we deplore. / Let the gift of Your salvation / be our gift for evermore. / Grant us wisdom, / Grant us courage, / serving You whom we adore” (Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1878–1969).
Lord, keep Your people free of the human tendency to assess others harshly while we go easy on ourselves.