And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

—Matthew 7:3–5

Few things seem to stir up the Lord’s anger as much as hypocrisy. He was constantly in the face of leading Jews about their double standards, and His feelings about the use of His Father’s house as a place of merchandise were clear. The reason Jesus took such a strong stance on hypocrisy was that when our professions of belief and actions do not align, we drag His name into the mix.

The particular form of hypocrisy Jesus was addressing here was that of accusing others of something though being guilty of the same thing yourself. Interestingly, sometimes the sins that people attack most harshly in others are the very ones they are guilty of themselves.

Based on this text and others, many Christians have wrongly concluded that we are never to say anything about someone else’s sins or errors in the faith. But that is not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught what the Bible always teaches; He instructed us to examine ourselves first and remove that which is not of the Lord before we try to help others with their issues. As a matter of fact, I believe the Lord actually gives us a bit of a perspective check as He instructs us to view others’ sins as specks and our own as logs.

Hypocrisy is like a dirty pair of eyeglasses. You certainly wouldn’t want your doctor doing surgery on you while he or she was wearing dirty, smudged glasses. So too is it true with helping one another to overcome sins and failures that reflect on the name of the Lord.

This passage is not a prohibition against calling out someone who is in sin; it’s an instruction on how to do it. So clean your lenses today, and see your own failures as big as logs and others’ shortcomings as small as specks. Then, should a word of correction be needed, your heart will be in the right place to give it.

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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