I read a cartoon this past week. In the cartoon, there were two men in business suits. One man was pointing to another and was saying” “Here let me help you get that speck out of your eye.” The man pointing to the man with the speck in his eye had a three foot log sticking out of his own eye!
The cartoon was based on Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:3-4: “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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?”
It is true. People judge others on their possessions, color of skin, area of town a person lives in, accent, body size, car model and make and profession.
Jesus taught about judging others in this parable. So the people could understand, He painted a word picture to his audience on the side of the mountain that day.
Jesus was not necessarily talking about judging people for what they wear, but He was speaking about looking at others, condemning them and passing judgment on their behavior when the person judging is not in a position or condition to pass judgment. He was essentially talking about sin in one’s own life.
That is, Jesus said that the one who might be condemning others’ behavior is the same one that has undesirable behaviors in their own life.
I do not believe that Jesus was talking about things like murder and rape and robbery and burglary and embezzlement. The Ten Commandants are not conditional.
But I believe Jesus was referring to religious people who perceive themselves spiritually superb and are very proud of the pious lives that they lead.
Meet Mr. and Mrs. Sanctimonious. Their conversation goes like this:
“We are worn out … doing God’s work … what do you do in your spare time?”
“We don’t know who will carry the ball when we are gone.”
“You would get the blessings we get if you would jump in and work as hard as we work in the church.”
“We carry the load of ministering to different groups in our church … what are you doing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday?”
But just a few questions come to my mind about Mr. and Mrs. Sanctimonious. How do your treat your families at home … are you available for your children, even your grown children? Do you take care of your own sick mothers, or grandmothers or aunts? Do the people in the community in your daily life see a couple who is committed to God: the checker at the grocery store, the customer from your business, the mechanic who works on your car, the waitress who brings your lunch special, the receptionist at the optometrist, the child who mistakenly rides his bike over the edge of your grass?
I don’t believe Jesus is impressed with the “doing.” Doing is not a bad thing but it has the potential to be a determent. The maintenance of the heart issues and our relationship with Jesus should take precedence over activity, even if that activity is religious.
I have discovered two important principles. First, if I concentrate on the sin of Judy Brandon, the sin or perceived sins of others pale.
Second, God is the only one that can judge with an eternal perceptive.
I guess in light of those two principles, I shouldn’t be so hard on Mr. and Mrs. Sanctimonious.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: