"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye. . . ." - Matthew 7:5
When I see someone doing something wrong, my first impulse is to lash out. I want to get angry and condemn what I see in their behavior. I like to think I’m doing the world a favor by pointing out their sin.
But in this passage Jesus urges us to slow down and ask ourselves if we have ever done such a thing—or worse.
Do I talk to people that way? Do I treat my kids that way? Do I waste my resources that way?
And if so, what do I need to do in order to change?
This doesn’t mean we never confront others. But doing some self-reflection first helps our conversations to be more helpful, and less critical, because we are coming from a place of humility rather than judgment.
All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has been challenging us to focus not only on our behavior but also on our thoughts, our attitudes, and our motives as well—even in times of conflict.
Before you pass judgment on someone else, take a good, long look at your own heart. And make sure you have dealt with the plank that’s sticking out of your own eye. Because if you don’t, you will come off as hypocritical. And unhelpful.
Father, help me to recognize my own faults when I experience conflict with someone. Help my speech to point others to you, and let it be gracious and seasoned with wisdom. Amen.