If you can’t tell the difference between a log and a speck you are a hypocrite. Well that sounds easy enough. Anybody can recognize a log, but you need a magnifying glass to find a speck. How dumb would I have to be to be a hypocrite? Do you really want to answer that question?
Imagine someone walking into a room, knocking over future and breaking windows with a log sticking out of his eye. Then after half of the furniture in the room has been destroyed the log-bearer announces that he has come to remove a speck from your own eye. Your immediate response would be to get this hypocrite out of your house before he destroys the rest of it.
This is exactly the image that Jesus intends to portray when he says:
“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? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5
Jesus’ choice of words is devastatingly brilliant. A hypocrite causes upset wherever he goes. He is blind to what is painfully obvious to everyone else. He is using a magnifying glass when he should be using a mirror. If he used a mirror he would see the ugly log sticking out if his own eye. A hypocrite is blind to his own sins. Attempting to remove specks with your log firmly in place results in catastrophic relational damage.
Those around you, those whom you love, all have specks that need to be removed. But first you must use the mirror of scripture to remove the log of hypocrisy from your eye. Removing a speck is a delicate operation that requires love and concern. There is nothing delicate or loving about a hypocrite.
Ask others to show you to the mirror. Have the courage to ask those close to you help you find your logs. When you trust Christ this way good things will happen. One day someone you love will hand you a magnifying glass and say, “could you help me get this thing out of my eye, it is really bothering me.”
2 thoughts on “Can you tell the difference between a log and speck?”
I would refer you back to the passage itself. Verse 5 is teaching that if you don’t take the log out of your own eye first you will be a hypocrite and will not be able to judge correctly as John 7:24 commands. The point of the post is to help people be able to make wise judgements. You must see clearly before you can make an accurate judgement.
I appreciate your overall points, but if you read for example Martyn Lloyd-Jones _Studies in the Sermon on the Mount_, you will see that Jesus is indeed also speaking of a fault-finding spirit as _itself_ being the log. In other words, he is saying that the tendency to be a fault-finder is a worse sin than the sins you claim to be pointing out. Further, being a fault-finder distorts your vision, just like a literal log in your eye would, such that you aren’t event identifying the things that really are the sins.
None of this means that there should be no church discipline, or that we should be afraid of moral clarity as Christians. But it does mean that there is much more going on here than Jesus simply condemning those who accuse others of the very same sins they have in themselves. Jesus is also condemning a fault-finding spirit–the notion that we are experts in identifying the subtle sins of others and that it is our duty to go around “helping” them get those specks out. That is itself a massively sinful attitude which Jesus is here condemning.