Scripture: Luke 6:39-42 (alternate reading: John 3:13-17)
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: Are you clear-sighted, especially in your perception of sin and the need for God’s grace? Jesus' two parables about poor vision 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 cause a lot of trouble that will only end in sure 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? We are all in need of a physician who can give us vision, insight, and clarity for overcoming the blindspots of sin and ignorance in our own lives.
True disciples of Christ are those who listen to the voice of their Master and who submit to the skillful help of Jesus, the Divine Physician, who heals us and removes the cancer of sin from our lives. If we are to be guides and teachers for others, then we need good vision, both spiritual and moral vision, and a clear map that shows us the right path and destination for our life's journey. Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth, and the life – no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). If our destination is heaven – our true home and union with God – then there is only one way to get there and that way is through the cross of our Lord 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 in Christ is restored. The cross of Christ frees us from condemnation and guilt and shows us the way of perfect love and unity with God and with our neighbor.
If Christ has truly freed us from guilt and condemnation, then why is judgmentalism and a critical spirit 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 other 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 (Mark 4:24). 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, forbearance, and kindness 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)
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of
2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! [Selah]
5 Blessed are the men whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! [Selah]
9 Behold our shield, O God; look upon the face of your anointed!
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in you!