See the plank in your own eye. Most Christians should remember this as something Jesus said. It’s from a section the NIV titles Judging Others. It’s a hard issue to write about, because Jesus also said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. That’s hard. Don’t judge. Don’t condemn. Forgive. Even when every fiber of your being is screaming that something’s wrong!
That’s one of the reasons why, when I write something like this, I try to remember to ask you – the reader – to examine yourself. I’ve tried, repeat tried, to take the plank out of my eye. I believe I’ve come a long way over the last several years. Changed many attitudes about things. But I know I’m not perfect. And yet, when I feel called to write something, there’s this balancing act between what part of me wants to say – and what I know in my heart shouldn’t be said. Like don’t judge, don’t condemn and do forgive.
So this, and probably a number of posts to follow, are an attempt to do that balancing act, while pointing out that we are Christians, not political puppets. We answer to God, not our political party. We follow Jesus, not out political party of choice.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at Judging Others.
6:37-42 pp — Mt 7:1-5
Lk 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Lk 6:39 He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Lk 6:41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
See the plank in your own eye
See what I mean? How can anyone respond to that? How do you write about something that fits that scenario without being a hypocrite? It’s not easy. But I have to try.
Let’s look at the scenario, then go through Judging Others to see what’s going on.
President Trump suggested Tuesday that he might consider cutting funding for the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus crisis and alleged role in helping China downplay the severity of the outbreak.
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” he tweeted.
Now, let’s look at that from the point of view of what Jesus said in Judging Others.
Can a blind man lead a blind man?
Trump is looking at cutting funding for the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus crisis and alleged role in helping China downplay the severity of the outbreak.
Now, I don’t know what state you live in, but here in California we have done things very differently than Trump did, right from the very beginning. While he was saying this would be over in a week, then by Easter, then in a month or so, and now with planning going out for months – we’ve been preparing since the very first case hit in the US.
Our Governor and the Mayor of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles have been out getting what they need from the very beginning. While Trump was saying this is just the flu – we were getting ready. Now – he’s praising what we did.
And while he blames China and the WHO for the situation, he conveniently seems to forget, or ignore, his own culpability. I mean seriously – who trusts Communist China? And how can someone who’s so pro-America actually claim he relied on a world organization? It makes no sense. And what about his own people who were sending out warnings? He either fired them or scared them into submission. Tow his line or get fired.
There’s honestly no disputing this. The facts are there. And while he and his ardent followers will call this fake news – the evidence of his own words are out there. His own words.
Is that not the blind leading? Not that he’s really blind, per se. But he seems to choose to be blind. Or maybe he knows the truth but wants us to be blind to the realities of what’s happening? In that case, it’s the blind leading the hopefully blind.
With a plank in your eye –Will they not both fall into a pit?
It’s obvious what’s happening in this country. People are getting sick. People are dying. Not because of the WHO. Not because of China. No – because some in this country didn’t take it seriously. Too many of our leaders – both federal and many states. But too many regular people. And now we’re paying the price. Sick people. Dead people. Tens of millions of people losing jobs and health insurance. People who can’t afford food. Can’t afford rent or mortgage. Just to name a few problems with the pit we’re falling into.
Will they not both fall into a pit? But which pit?
This is a Christian site – so I’m concerned with more than what you just read. Anyone can bring up those things. Even atheists can see what’s going on. In fact, it may be harder for Christians than for atheists. Seriously.
For whatever reason, Christians seem to have an attachment to some people in the government. Especially when they say they are the greatest President ever for Christians. Especially when they hit certain hot button issues – like abortion. It’s like there’s a need to support them.
Here’s the question though. Is that a blind need? How many lies must be told before they’re recognized? How many times can we forget what was done previously? In other words, how many times can Trump get us to ignore his own words? How many people have to die before we realize that the number didn’t have to be that high? Is it really necessary to mock and insult everyone who disagrees with him?
And the big one – how many of those things I just listed are Christian? I’ll tell you. None. Not a single one. Why is it that so many Christians can’t see that? Is it a decision to be blind on certain issues? Or is it that we’ve so lost track of what Jesus taught that we don’t even realize what’s going on around us?
Either way, are we not headed for the pit of Hell when we blindly follow the blind? The problem is that when we follow a blind person – we become just like them. Blind to reality. Blind to the fact that we’re off the path.
Knowing that, realizing we’re off the path is the only way to avoid the pit. But again – what pit?
When is a pit not a pit?
Of course, we read about the blind following the blind into a pit, and we think it’s literally a path and a real pit off the edge of the path. Maybe get a few scratches. Even a broken bone or two. Sorry, but that’s the wrong kind of pit.
Remember, Jesus spoke of having eyes to see, as in seeing the real message He was trying to give us. Messages of the Kingdom of God. Well, this path and this pit are that kind of message.
The path, of course, is:
Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Yeah – the path that leads to the narrow gate. The path that leads to eternity with God.
That should make the pit what we find at the end of the wide path. The path taken by the blind, whether leader or follower. They may not even know they’re headed for the pit until they’re in it. And then it’s too late.
But is that for real? Jesus never actually spoke of Hell being a pit. Yes, Jesus did speak of pits. But they weren’t Hell. Were they?
Guess what. Here’s a little something on how Jesus’ listeners at the time understood “pit”.
Pit. Word used frequently in the OT to denote the grave, the abode of the dead, or Sheol, that is, a shadowy existence which the living feared as cutting them off from light, joy, and vitality. Godly men abhorred it because it seemed to negate their fellowship with God: Hezekiah (Is 38:17, 18), Job (17:13–16; 33:22), and the psalmists (28:1; 30:3; 55:23; 88:4, 6). Rarely did the OT saint rise to the insight of resurrection which came with the gospel.
See Bottomless Pit; Dead, Abode of the; Death; Sheol. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Pit. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1698). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Oops. Looks like the people who heard Jesus knew something we don’t seem to know anymore. That pit really was Hell. Jesus wasn’t talking about the blind getting off the path. Jesus was warning that the blind – whether they’re leaders or followers – are destined to end up in the pit. In Hell.
Let those who have eyes to see takes on a whole new meaning now, doesn’t it?
Even knowing who we’re following is important when it comes to whether our final destination will be Heaven – or the pit of Hell.
The speck and the plank
So, before you tell me to take the plank out of my eye, I highly encourage you to take a look at your own eye. Be sure there’s not a plank there. Like – be sure you’re getting your Christian faith from the Bible and not from a political leader. Political leaders are not Christian leaders.
How many times did Jesus ever refer someone to Rome to find out about their faith? Even Herod, the king of the Jewish people, had his allegiance more to Rome and especially to himself rather than to God.
So how many times must Trump show his true colors before more Christians realize that maybe you’re following the blind man, becoming blind yourself, and that maybe you’re headed to the pit?
Sure – you’re perfectly free to dismiss what write. Not to worry – there’s no law against it. Not like the laws our so-called Christian leaders try to pass to make their view of “Christianity” become forced on everyone. You may remember how that ends up. Think about the people to left Europe hundreds of years ago to escape the King’s version of Christianity. It doesn’t end up well.
A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher
Even the best Christian ever born isn’t above Jesus. Paul never considered himself anything close to that. His thing was about building on Jesus. No more. No less.
So why do so many of us seem to think that somehow any political leader can be above Jesus?
Why do I ask that question? Because today, politically oriented Christians try to pass laws to essentially make people follow the Christian Law. But remember – there’s no Christian Law. Jesus came to introduce something to take the place of the law.
22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31
Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Two simple things for us to do. All the Law hangs on those two things. And those two are really about one thing – love. God’s kind of love.
Conclusion – See the plank in your own eye
I ask you – just how much of God’s kind of love do you see in our current President?
If you answered that honestly, why are you looking to him as someone to follow instead of Jesus?
Yes – I really mean instead of. I don’t see Jesus present in the vast majority of things Trump does or says.
Think about the passage below. Pray about it.
6:22, 23 pp — Lk 11:34-36
Mt 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Mt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
Mt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Open your eyes. Take the plank out of your own eye. Really see with them. The way Jesus said we need to see. Then ask, where is my treasure? Is it in Heaven or on earth? ‘Cause if it’s on earth, you’re on the path to Hell. You know – the path of the blind?
Please, don’t be so devoted to someone – anyone – who’d so devoted to things not from God that you lose sight of when you also become so devoted to the dark that you end up on the wrong path.
|↑1||Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Pit. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1698). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.|