Why do you see 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,’ when there is the log in your own eye?Matthew 7:3-4 (ESV)
Continuing in his teaching on our interactions and relationships with others, Jesus further explains the role of judging in the lives of believers. As with all of Jesus’ teachings, the premise is wrapped around the basic theme of love. The first step in our relationships and dealing with other people is to always come from a heart of humility with an intention to love. This is the central and key point of Jesus’ teaching on judging others. We are not called to be the heavy-handed instrument of God’s righteousness that brings the news of judgment with no affection and concern. Jesus tells us that our first step in helping others see their need for God’s mercy and grace in their life is to first recognize and understand our own deeper and greater need for God’s mercy and grace in our lives. We are to relate to each other in humbleness working in love through the power of Christ himself.
I see this working out in my life more and more this past year or so. God has been bringing to my mind a greater understanding of his unfathomable depth of love for me and teaching me to live in the richness of his grace. This means that he has been slowly revealing the depth of sin in my own heart. He has been pulling back the veil covering my own heart to slowly give me a greater understanding of the darkness that lies within my own broken heart. The ever-present tendency to seek after and pursue sin and temptation as I continue to promote my own needs over and above all others, including Jesus himself. He has been patient and kind to me in this process and continued to pursue my heart to bring renewal and restoration.
This manifests itself more in my relationships with others as I am learning to be more patient and understanding with others. My patience is by no means perfect, but there is a greater understanding and recalling of my own inadequacies as I live, work, and relate with my neighbors. Jesus is teaching me how to better love people with where they are in life and faith. He is teaching me that my sinful heart can be and often is just as wayward and wrong as the person I am speaking to. He is teaching me that I may not have this particular sin (speck) in my eye, but I have a whole host of sins (logs) in my own eye. This is the key to my personal relationships with others. We are all in great need of God’s mercy. As I am preaching the Good News of God’s Grace to myself, I share this with others.
In my conversations with others, I am less focused on the sin that is presented before me and more focused on sharing how the grace and mercy of God have renewed and changed my own heart in similar ways. I worry less about what the person is doing and I focus on connecting heart to heart. I have found that as I open up my heart to others, there is a greater understanding and revealing of sin in their own heart without me needing to point it out. It is a beautiful moment to watch the Spirit working in the heart of another as I share how this same Spirit changed me. As with everything, Jesus wants us to take the spotlight off ourselves and place it directly on God.
These moments and conversations with others become additional moments of worship in my life. I can stop trying to be God and just be a humble servant who is in great need of my Savior’s love and mercy. I continue to float in the vastness of God’s love and invite others to join me. Jesus continues to draw me unto himself through my relationships and interactions with people. People that are made in the image of God. People that are hurting and lost. People who are in need of the powerful love of Christ working in and through them for the glory of God. People just like me.