Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Matthew 7:3 | NIV (1984) | Other Versions | Context
When Jesus preached about the plank in one’s own eye; I wonder what was the reaction of the crowd of followers who were listening to him then? The analogy of the plank in the eye is one that has over the years, grown in fame and is perhaps one of the most well-known pieces of teaching against judging others in the Bible. Though in slightly differing narratives, this episode can be found in both Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42, likely during the period of time after Jesus had prayed, and yet still preached at a level ground to a large number of people who had followed him. Some of the topics that were likely taught at that time was also the passage on loving your enemies – which in the gospel book of Luke was recorded immediately before the analogy of the plank.
Why do you look – if you have the sense of sight, it is in human nature to look and to stare. You cannot avoid looking unless you’re extremely wary about looking. Our lines of sight are attracted by things out of the ordinary, like a blue leaf in a sea of green; or a lone female in a class of males. Evidently, we have a tendency to look at other people too; we look at a person and form our own impressions; and if the person has something obviously different from us – whether good or bad – it is in our nature to look and stare. Jesus did not ask, ‘Did you look?’ but rather ‘Why do you look” – it can be assumed that we call do look. But when we begin to think about ‘why’ we look at the flaws of others, we find out more about ourselves as well.
speck of sawdust – A speck of sawdust, or a mote in some older versions, would most like refer to a splinter of wood that has somehow flew into one’s eye, and not only causes immense irritation to the eye, but also obstructs normal view. This could be foolishness, flaws, insecurities, and other related conduct or behaviour that arises die to a lacking brother or sister. A speck of sawdust is compared to a plank or a beam in one’s own eye, which would refer to a bigger sin compared to a speck of sawdust.
In reading the entirety of the verse, no scholars leaves without having made a point about this teaching – You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things [Romans 2:1]. Because we do not look at a mirror 24/7, we sometimes find ourselves staring at the conduct of some stars and starlets. Some of them are truly naive, or innocent. Some of them are truly too bad. Yet the meaning of passing judgement on a neighbor when you could have passed it on yourself remains. A lot of times, we cannot see the same or even greater sin that are in the backfocus, but once a game of Spurs come, it would be in their best interests to expound on a mistake.
Several years ago I was reminded to not crucify others by my own standards. It propelled me to attempt to judge myself via the standards in which I think those ‘others’ may have set for themselves – and the results were horrible. We all have faults, we all have quirks, we all have different characters and personalities. It would be a boring world if we all shared the same personalities. And because we’re all different, the standards expected and set by each of us are different. Because these standards are different, it makes living in this league a little bit more interesting.
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