Verse of the Day Devotion Matthew 7:3
“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3
Over the next week or two, we will be looking at the various parables Jesus told His disciples. Today we will look at the Parable of The Speck and the Log found in Matthew 7. Here is the parable.
“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 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.” Matthew 7:3-5.
Before telling them this parable, Jesus was speaking to His disciples and told them “Do not judge lest you be judged.” Matthew 7:1. The phrase ‘ do not judge’ refers to the passing of harsh, adverse verdicts on the conduct of our others; it does not forbid the use of our best critical thinking, which may be done in a spirit of tolerance and helpfulness and which Jesus elsewhere commands as a help to others. “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” Matthew 18:15. And it also does not mean “don’t think”. The verb is used not only generally of passing a verdict, but specifically of passing an adverse verdict, condemning, and it is this that Jesus is forbidding. And he adds the following telling them why they should not judge improperly. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2.
Jesus now illustrates the foolishness of most judgmentalism with the hyperbole of the speck and the log. He is clearly not concerned about literal pieces of foreign matter in people’s eyes but about his followers’ moral failures. “And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3. The meaning is not that in every case the person passing judgment is a worse sinner than the one he criticizes. It is rather that what he finds wrong in his brother is a very small matter compared with the sin God sees in him. It is easy to see the sins in another or to hear of the sin in another and look down upon the person referred but not admit the sin we have. It only takes one sin to become a sinner. In effect, He is addressing the issue of hypocrisy, looking, and judging the sins of others while ignoring our own. Also, such behavior is another example of hypocrisy especially when we treat fellow believers badly whose sins God has already forgiven.
Now, verse five makes clear that the above verses do not absolve us of responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ. On the contrary, once we have dealt with our own sins, we are then in a position to gently and lovingly restore others who have erred and sinned. “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.” Matthew 7:5. We are to help our brothers and sisters grow in the Lord, and in doing the work He has called us to. But we must not ignore the weaknesses we have and the logs in our eyes. We must always address our sins, asking forgiveness for them so that we can be ready to help our fellow Christians with their sins when needed.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.