The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
"First take the log out of your own eye"

Scripture:  Matthew 7:1-5

1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.  2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.  3 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?  4 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?  5 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.
Meditation: Everybody is a critic, but nobody wants to be judged or condemned.  Then why is judgementalism so rampant, 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 ďoff the markĒ because we canít see inside the person, or we donít 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 Godís 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 nameís sake.  (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century)


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager