1 “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 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. 3 Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the beam of wood in your own eye? 4 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? 5 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
“Why Do You Look at the Speck in Your Brother’s Eye, and Ignore the Plank in Your Own Eye?”
by Matt Pearson
West Franklin Campus
“Can you show me and your mom how you do it? We’ve never done it before.” It was one of the most horrifying questions I have ever been asked. My dad learned I was dipping tobacco. To make sure I was real embarrassed, caught red-handed, and completely mortified, he asked if I could go get a can of dip so he and mom could learn from their son. He asked me if I could show them how to do it. He knew the answer. He knew how. He asked me to “get” me. He asked me because he loved me. He asked me because there were certain things Pearsons don’t do, and one of them was tobacco. To this day I believe if he hadn’t asked me that question, there is a good chance I would be addicted to nicotine.
My dad didn’t ask me the question because he didn’t know the answer. Neither does Jesus. He asks many questions. Not because He doesn’t know or have the answers. He asks to “catch” us, to “get” us, to force our hands and make us think. Not to prove He is right and we are wrong, but to cause us to own up to what is really happening. To lovingly confront us with a good dose of reality. If He didn’t ask questions, there’s a good chance we could be addicted to nicotine...or mindlessly walking around with a large piece of wood in our eye.
In the context of Matthew 7, Jesus confronts something we all do: we notice the sins and shortcomings of others while neglecting our own. We are quick to recognize where others fall short, but deny the reality of our own issues. So what does Jesus do? He asks a question. A question that confronts us with what really is rather than what our perception is. To make His point, He asks the same question two different ways: “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?” The questions are so ridiculous you cannot miss the point: quit being so busy pointing out the small flaws of others while ignoring your own. Can you imagine a guy walking around with a huge two-by-four hanging out of his eye who was busy pointing out a splinter in the eye of another man? That is preposterous. That’s His point.
Jesus wants us to help each other recognize and get rid of sins (see Matthew 7:5). We all have blind spots. But the spirit in which we do it is the point. There are always sins, flaws, shortcomings, weaknesses, etc. we need help with. Assuming we don’t while pointing out that others do is ridiculous. It is judging. It is sin. Pointing out others’ sins in love while humbly acknowledging our own ongoing need for “plank removal,” however, is the spirit of the Christ follower. When this happens, the kingdom of God has come.
- When has someone asked you a question they already knew the answer to? Why did they ask it? How did it change you? How has God done this for you in your own life?
- Think about how ridiculous Jesus’ question is. Write out His point in your own words. Write out ways you are guilty of being this ridiculous in your own life toward others.
- How can you cultivate a humble spirit that lovingly desires to help others overcome sin while at the same time recognizing your own need for repentance?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.