39 He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. 41 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? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
Meditation: Jesus' two parables allude to the proverb: Without vision the people perish! (Proverbs 29:18) What does the illustration of a blind guide and a bad eye (the log in the eye) say to us? A bad eye left untreated and a blind guide can only lead to one thing -- disaster! We can only teach others what we have been taught ourselves. And how can we help others overcome their faults if we are blinded by our own faults? A disciple is one who listens to the voice of the Master and who overcomes his faults through the skillful help of the Divine Physician. If we are to be guides and teachers for others, then we must have clear vision for where we are going and a map that shows the way. If our destination is heaven, then there is only one way and that way is the cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross of Christ sin is pardoned and the sinner is made whole, darkness and corruption give way to light and truth, death is defeated and new life restored. The cross of Christ frees us from condemnation and guilt and shows us the way of perfect love. Why is judgmentalism so rampant today, even among Christians? "Thinking the best of other people" is necessary if we wish to grow in love. And kindliness in judgment is nothing less that a sacred duty. The Rabbis warned people: "He who judges his neighbor favorably will be judged favorably by God." How easy it is to misjudge and how difficult it is to be impartial in judgment. Our judgment of others is usually "off the mark" because we can't see inside the person, or we don't have access to all the facts, or we are swayed by instinct and unreasoning reactions to people. It is easier to find fault in others than in oneself. Jesus states a heavenly principle we can stake our lives on: what you give to others (and how you treat others) will return to you. The Lord knows our faults and he sees all, even the imperfections and sins of the heart which we cannot recognize in ourselves. Like a gentle father and a skillful doctor he patiently draws us to his seat of mercy and removes the cancer of sin which inhabits our hearts. Do you trust in God's mercy and grace? Ask the Lord to flood your heart with his loving-kindness and mercy that you may only have room for charity and forbearance towards your neighbor.
"O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits
its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke.
Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather
than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people
at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name's
sake. (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century)