This one is a VERY popular one. People throw it around all the time. But do we really understand what it is saying? Let’s find out.
3Why do you [a]stare from without at the [b]very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam [c]of timber that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye, when there is the beam [d]of timber in your own eye? Matthew 7
I think most people understand what this means. However, it may not be applied appropriately. For example, if we know someone who is abusing something, we can’t take this verse and apply it unless we ourselves are abusing the very same something. If I’m a drug addict, it wouldn’t be wise of me to try and confront my drug addict friend. HOWEVER, if I am a recovered drug addict, I can and should.
And although it wouldn’t carry much weight, if I am a drug addict and notice my friend is physically abusing someone, it doesn’t disqualify me from confronting my friend about the physical abuse.
This isn’t applied the same as when Jesus said, ““Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8) In this case, people were about to carry out a sentence of death on someone. The issue wasn’t their confrontation of the woman’s sin, it was in their treatment of the woman. At the end of this scene, “Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”” He didn’t ignore her sin.
Let’s move on to see this more clearly in the next sentence, which by the way, no one every quotes.
5You hypocrite, first get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye.
We see here that it says “AND THEN,” and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye. So it’s not wrong to try to take the speck out of a brother’s eye – it is just important that we get the log out of ours first. So if we are going to confront someone on pornography, lying, cheating, stealing, etc, etc, we need to make sure that we are not doing that very thing. If we are, we need to take care of that issue in our own life before we would be able to help someone else.
I almost think there is another application to this verse. When we can see something in someone else’s life, it might be a reminder to take time to examine our own. Take a look at our own life with a fine tooth comb to make sure we ourselves are not carrying around a speck.
Have you ever had a speck of something in your eye? I have. And let me tell you something, I couldn’t have seen any clearly than someone with a blind fold on, let alone a plank in their eye. So even though we may think someone is being worse than us at something, our sin is smaller, we STILL should take a good look at ourselves.
If reproving or admonishing our brothers and sisters was something not to be done, we’d almost have to throw out half of the Bible. Think about that for a moment. Not one disciple in the Bible was perfect. Not one of them would have had a perfectly clean eye while they were taking “the tiny particles out of” the early Church’s eye, now would they?
Before we speak, we should to a very good self evaluation, take a long look in the mirror.