It was probably one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I was eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant with my prom date. As I enjoyed my General Tso’s chicken, I noticed that my date kept looking at me strangely. She wouldn’t make eye contact and kept looking down at her plate.
After drinking too many refills of soda, I felt the need to inspect the restaurant’s facilities. It was there in front of the bathroom mirror that I discovered why my date would not look at my face. I had pieces of broccoli hung in my braces. It looked like I was growing a chia pet in my mouth.
When I returned to the table, I asked her why she never said anything to me. She replied that she was afraid it would hurt my feelings. I responded that I would prefer to know so I could remove the chia pet and her discomfort in seeing it.
This episode reminds me of instructions Jesus gave in Matthew’s Gospel. He said:
Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a beam of wood in your own eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam of wood out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 (CSB)
People often use this passage to argue that we should ignore sin in the lives of others because we are not to judge them. Jesus clearly tells us not to judge in this passage; however, does He say that we should ignore the speck in our brother’s eye?
Specks hurt and can cause damage to the eye. It’s for our brother’s good that we remove the speck. To leave the speck in our brother’s eye is not a loving thing to do.
Before we can remove the speck, we must first see our own sin. We’ve got to deal with our own sin before helping our brother or sister remove their speck. We must humble ourselves before God and possess repentant hearts that are broken and contrite over our sin.
No, Jesus did not call us to leave the speck in our brother’s eye. He calls us to deal with our sin, to approach our brother in humility, and then help him to remove his speck.
Refusing to help our brother remove his speck is not loving like Jesus. If we’re going to love like Jesus, we will humbly remove our own log, point out the speck, and help him to get it out of his eye; then, both of us can see clearly.