‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’ He also told them a parable: ‘Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye”, when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.
Jesus certainly had a way with words, didn’t He? A phrase which is so simple to read, we all know, can be so difficult to live out: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged’.
I am sure we all know people in life who, it feels, spend all their time pointing out various peoples’ specks while remaining oblivious to the great logs that they carry about with them. Surely not in any of our churches though(!)
While, on the one hand, to be accused of forgetting the log in your own eye can be greatly offensive, I can’t help feeling sorry for the poor folk about whom Jesus was thinking. These poor people with the hypothetical log in their hypothetical eye must find it very difficult to hypothetically see: yet with the small amount of vision they hypothetically have, they can only seem to see someone else’s problems/failings. It must be a sad life to live.
I knew someone in church – now long dead – who was convinced that everyone around him was dreadfully flawed, and would spend his life informing them about their problems. How sad it was to see – particularly as he thought he was doing a good turn. He spent his life with no friends: all because the great log in his eye stopped him seeing the beauty of those around him.
I pray that I may a) be more aware of peoples’ blessings than their failings or imperfections, and b) may have the grace to let others clean the logs or dust from my eyes every now and then.
Jesus, my Lord and Friend, so often I am tempted to think I know best, or that someone else is doing it all wrong. Don’t let this log in my eye deceive me, but instead give me the grace to allow others to remove it, that I may see clearly. Amen
Michael RJ Topple is an ordinand at the Scottish College, Glasgow.