In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus warns against being judgmental:  “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus in all of His Amazing Wisdom was simply pointing out the common human propensity to look for everyone else’s faults before self-introspection.  Of course, this is completely backwards.  One should fix one’s own faults through introspection and perhaps prayer, asking God to search you and reveal your faults which you may be unaware of in your spiritual ignorance:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts,” (Psalm 139:23).  How can you possibly help someone else if you have not done the work to fix your own problems or flaws?

Nevertheless, most people never really search themselves first before they start looking for everyone else’s faults.  And usually they are judging others with a standard that they would not be willing to apply to themselves.  It is so easy to judge oneself generously and then to be overly critical or to apply hyperbolic, legalistic judgment to the faults of others, magnifying their faults in your mind so that you can flatter yourself that “at least you are not as bad as they are.”  This is the attitude of the proud Pharisee in Jesus’ “Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector” in Luke 18:9-14.  In this passage, the Pharisee thanks God that he is not as bad as everyone else.  Of course, he is probably using a very easy, hypocritical standard to judge himself while he is overly critical of others.  But as Jesus teaches in this passage that the Pharisee’s attitude is not the correct attitude when approaching God.  The better attitude, instead, is that of the the widely despised tax collector who cries out to God in humility and true repentance for his own faults.  


It is almost an instinctive reaction in humans to automatically look at anyone else’s behavior and assume that you know enough about them to be able to judge them.  It is so easy to come up with a laundry list of everyone else’s faults, but if asked to list our own faults, most of us would have a hard time doing so.  But this is where God wants us to be before we worry about everyone else’s problems. 

I pray that you would have the gift from God of seeing yourself accurately, not too critically and not too generously. 

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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