Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Lord, Please Knock 'Em Down a Peg

Suggested Reading: Matthew 7:1-5

Not long ago, I found myself making comments about a particular person who was getting under my skin. This person didn't do anything wrong, per se, but tends to just keep talking. This person is fairly intelligent but sometimes just misses the obvious, and (in my opinion) tends to talk about anyone who disagrees as someone who just hasn't thought through their position as well as they should have. The fact that this person also tends to mischaracterize the position he disagrees with simply adds to my irritation. And so I found myself making comments about this person. I know better and, usually, I behave better. But this person always came across as feeling so superior, so much more intelligent than everyone else, that I felt justified in making my comments. I eventually turned my comments to God, praying something along the lines of, Lord, could you please knock that person down a peg and take away that smug air of superiority.

Literally a split second later, God responded, but it was to take me down a peg as Jesus's words echoed in my mind. “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye" (Matthew 7:1-5, HCSB). It felt like a punch to the gut that knocked the air out of me. I realized that the primary reason this person's superiority bothered me so much was that it interfered with my own superiority. I was judging this person for doing the very thing I myself was guilty of.

But we do that kind of thing all the time, don't we? We look down on that lazy person over there while ignoring our own laziness. We judge someone's selfishness without realizing that we only notice it because it interferes with our own selfishness. We pity the hypocrisy we see in our co-worker without stopping long enough to examine our own double lives.

When we see a problem in another person's life, before we start pointing it out to anyone or allowing it to change the way we view them, we need to take a hard, long look at our own lives. Jesus said we would be judged with the same standard we apply to others. So before we start measuring other people we need to measure ourselves. If we would fail to live up to our own standard, we should start adjusting our own lives. Let's take care of the logs in our own eyes, then we might actually be able to help others with their specks.

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