The Pendulum Swings

“Remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:4)

In many things in life we have a tendency to move to either one extreme or the other like the pendulum of a clock. Always overcompensating we appear unstable or even hypocritical but it need not be so. I managed to roll a car in my youth by overcorrecting the steering in deep, loose gravel but I obviously didn’t need to do so. In the Christian life we are also in danger of wrecking our witness for Jesus Christ by going too far one way or the other.

When Jesus said, “Judge not” He surely did not mean that we should not be discerning or that would make a mockery of much of His own and Paul’s writings in the New Testament. It would even contradict what He said at the same time as quoted above.

The issue is that we should not be hypocritical in our judgments of others. In this we see that the issue is not the exercise of looking on another but the reason for so doing. The Pharisees judged Jesus to be unworthy and themselves to be worthy. They did this for their own glory and to retain their position of power and influence in the nation. To make themselves look better they tried to make Him look bad.

Motive is the key point. Am I looking on another in order to help them (brotherly love) or to make me feel better about myself (self-centred – brotherly hatred)? We have the freedom of choice but Jesus warns that whatever our motive it will return to us in kind (Matthew 7:2). Kind begets kind- God’s Law!

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