By Randy Dillon
Luke 6:41-42 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceive not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thine brother’s eye.”
The above verses deal specifically with a Christian who sees only the faults of other believers without perceiving his/her own weaknesses. Jesus here uses a parable to bring attention to such criticism of others and to the inability of so many to even recognize their own shortcomings. It is so easy to see the faults of other people. We all have our own standards and expectations of how things ought to be. All too frequently we are ever ready to see others’ weaknesses even though they may be, as Jesus says, only the size of a mote, a small particle, a minor issue. Yet this small, insignificant blemish seems to demand that we be offended and self-righteously try to remove this offending item from our brother/sister. And this happens even though Jesus says our own sins, faults and weaknesses are, in comparison to the mote, the size of a beam or log. Worse, we do not even perceive that our own shortcomings are far more egregious than those of the people we are criticizing.
This also applies to instances in which we are desirous of correcting the “motes” in others. Jesus reminds us not to be so eager to correct others of their weaknesses when we do not recognize our own faults. Often this is not a matter of genuine, humble action on our part, but rather an issue of self-righteousness. This, claims Jesus, is hypocrisy. Rather, He says, we should rid ourselves of our own “beam” in order to make pure our motives and behaviors toward our brothers/sisters. This requires an intense self-reflection that can only come from prayerful consideration of our own spiritual condition. This also leads us to a position in which we can truly and lovingly assist our fellow believers to also cast out the mote in his/her eye.
In verses 37-40 preceding the focal passage, Jesus repeats His warning in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1-6) about judging others. This admonition alone should cause us to be extremely cautious in jumping to conclusions and offering unrequested advice without first undergoing an in-depth self-evaluation and giving prayerful consideration and meditation on the issue at hand. If we are then led by the Holy Spirit to intervene, we must do so, but in doing so we must also challenge ourselves to manage our words and behavior in a loving and beneficial manner so as not to bring reproach on ourselves and even more so upon God.