“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way that you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, 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 brother’s eye.”
Have you ever noticed how the things that you struggle with are the things that annoy most when you see others doing them? Is it from pride that I have overcome that problem, or hyper-awareness because of its presence in me? Could it be that I can see the speck in another’s eye precisely because of the log in my own?
A number of months ago I was struggling with some negative thoughts and feelings about another person, and made these statements in my journal: “…when I am annoyed, offended by, or feel contempt for another person, I need to look closely at what that is bringing up in me, because the fact is that I am guilty of whatever I see in that person that bothers me. I can have discernment, and that may be OK, but when I feel a personal affront, I need to look for the gap in my own life. The Lord brought several things to my attention in this. First is that He is not the accuser, so the accusations I was hearing were not from Him. And, even if He did accuse, He would not accuse [that other person] to me. So, clearly the accusations were from Satan. But the more difficult stuff followed close behind. What is it about [the other person] that sets me off? Or rather, what is it about ME that causes me to be offended by him? That is a very disturbing thought for me.”
Consider trying this experiment: the next time someone does something that annoys or upsets you, ask the Lord what it is in you that is reacting to the other person.
If I deal fully with the log in my own eye, I will be so humbled by the recognition of my own weakness that I will forego judgment altogether. The Bible tells us that Jesus and Satan are before the throne of God; Satan accusing us before God (Revelation 12:10), while Jesus is interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:34). When I become aware of a fault in another person, I have to choose which side I will be on: will I stand with the accuser, or the Intercessor? Will I judge, or will I love? The options are mutually exclusive – I cannot do both. And while I am in such desperate need of love and mercy, how can I withold these from another whom I find guilty of the same faults?
Waterfall on the Middle Prong Little River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.