Robert Wurtz II
“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? 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” (Luke 6:41–42 ESV).
I want to say upfront, that there are times when it is certainly “in order” to deal with people and their issues. That’s not what this entry is discussing. Instead, I wish to deal with how the Lord Jesus challenges a typical behavior of people throughout the ages. It is common to all generations, languages, and ethnic groups. We see it all the time to this very day. People obsess about the faults of others but disregard entirely their own—even when their issues are of much greater significance. If we take the speck and log analogy literally, we find the difference to be exponential.
Jesus puts His finger on the root of the problem by calling the guilty party a hypocrite. This description sounds harsh, but it both accurately describes the behavior, and it rewards the conduct according to its own attitude. In other words, the guilty party doesn’t seem to mind correcting other peoples’ faults so its only fitting that they are corrected according to their own pattern of doing things. This approach that Jesus employed was a mere foretaste of the coming Judgment when “with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2 ESV).
Some people don’t mind judging others with no regard to the fact that God is overlooking their sin just like He is the person they are critiquing. I have frequently seen this behavior as a father, manager, and church leader. Have we not all seen it? Someone comes to you complaining about someone else and the whole time your thinking, “If I wanted to critique your behavior we would need half the day to sort it out.” Yet they carry on about the other person as if they have no faults of their own. Astounding!
Why is it that everyone else’s issues are always a million times worse than the critic? There is something very evil about that attitude. To have a log in your own eye and can’t see it—but are keenly attuned to your brother or sisters’ speck. I suggest that this is a fruit of hatred. It is the very reason why John the Baptist and Jesus called the people a “brood of vipers” or Paul “the poison of Asps is under their lips.” A critical, hateful, unloving attitude is a diabolical poison. It’s like human beings can’t wait to bite someone.
Scientists tell us that a snake can strike so quickly that their bodies can experience 20 Gs in the process. This biting is what I think about when I read Luke 6:41-42. People are lying in wait like a coiled up viper hoping for their next victim. When they strike down the first, they move on to the next person. This pattern is why we must never tolerate a person behaving in this way. They will have everyone in the family, the church, or the workplace snakebit before it’s over. Why? Because they view themselves as superior to others and worthy of judging them. It is one of the primary reasons why Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day.
Jesus asked, “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?” They don’t want to see it. It is a blinding pride. People build their self-esteem by putting others down. They want to view themselves as superior to everyone else, so they ignore their problems and focus on everyone else. It is carnality. It is the very self-exalting nature of Satan at work in a person, and they can’t even see it.
Paul told the Galatians, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1 ESV). Don’t be like the carnal and devilish man in Matthew 18 who took his neighbor by the throat who owed him a hundred denarii after being forgiven of owing ten thousand talents (1 talent = 6000 denarii). It’s the same proverbial log and speck theme. This outlook says, “Never mind that I was just forgiven a debt of 60,000,000 denarii, I’m going to throttle this guy for the 100 he owes me.” And people wonder why God created hell.
Again, Paul said in Galatians 6:1, “Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Consider yourself in all things. Jesus once told Peter not to worry about what John was doing but worry about himself (John 21:22). This is n example of the straight-forward nature of Jesus’ communication that gets little attention today. Worry about yourself, said Jesus. We should ask ourselves some questions and emphasize the “I” in them. “What have I done in the past that offended God? What am I doing right now that is offending God, and He is kindly overlooking it? What right do I have to judge others when I am doing or have done the same type of things or worse (Romans 2:1f)?”
A spiritual person will consider God’s benevolence towards them and extend it to others in kindness and tenderheartedness with a view to restoring the person (Eph. 4:32). They won’t coil up and strike with a force of 20 Gs. Why? Because the poison of Asps is no longer under their lips. Their mouth is no longer full of cursing and bitterness. They are spiritual. The love of God has been shed abroad in their heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). They are concerned about the person’s soul and not trivial matters of no eternal significance. It doesn’t make them feel better about themselves or build their self-esteem to point out other peoples’ faults. What are they concerned about? “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother” (Romans 14:13 ESV).