URC Daily Devotion 26th January 2023

 26th January 2023
St Matthew 7: 1 – 6
‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  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, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is 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. ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.


In the early years of World War II, Scottish scientist Robert Watson-Watt discovered that radio waves could be used to locate enemy aeroplanes.  His invention was called radar, and it became an essential tool in the defence of the allies during the Battle of Britain.  Years later, Robert Watson-Watt was pulled over for speeding.  The policeman caught him by using a radar gun.  Poking fun at himself, he penned this poem:

Pity Sir Robert Watson-Watt,
Strange target of his radar plot,
And this, with others I could mention,
A victim of his own invention.

Jesus compares a tiny splinter to a massive beam – a main support for a building.  How can I possibly see and remove the small sliver in your eye when there’s an eye-beam as big as a house blocking my vision?  Each and every person is fighting battles that no-one else knows about.  No-one knows how hard they tried not to be where they are, nor do we know the power of the forces at work, and nor do we really know what we would have done in the same circumstances.  Only God is aware of all the facts, and only God is able to judge. 

Many of us find it so much easier to see the biases in other people, while our own biases are often invisible to our self-analysis, and resistant to our intelligence.  As Robert Burns said in his poem about a louse he spotted on a lady’s hat in church:

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

God’s wish for us is not wailing and gnashing of teeth, but healing from judgement of ourselves and others.  I find it reassuring that it’s only God who judges, because God is full of mercy and grace, far more than I believe that I can comprehend let alone offer myself, and that’s good news for me and for you, because we need God’s mercy and grace.  


O judge us, Lord, and in your judgement free us,
and set our feet in freedom’s open space;
take us as far as your compassion wanders
among the children of the human race.  Amen.

(From a hymn by Fred Kaan)




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches in and around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly. 


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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