God tells Christians to remove the beam from their own eyes so they can judge others with better understanding: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3, 5).
One of the proofs of a removed beam is the presence of love. If the beam of pride is in one’s eye, then that person will look down on others and criticize them severely. When the beam has been removed, this person will speak with humility, knowing that no one is perfect and we need each other.
If the beam of hate is in one’s eyes, that person may harm someone. When the beam has been removed, one has gained compassion for other human beings.
If the beam of impatience is there, this person would cut off others and would not spend the time needed to understand others. With this beam removed, the person will accept the suffering needed to learn and understand.
The passage does not tell us to refrain from judging, but to judge rightly. We judge rightly when we act in love.
It’s important to learn how to show love and mercy, because the Bible says, “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:2). God will judge us in the same way we judge others. So the more we view others based on love and mercy, the more assurance we’ll have that God will treat us with the same.
Ideally, we’ll listen to instruction from others because we want to better ourselves so that we will be ready for the Judgment Seat. When Jesus said to his disciples that one of them would betray him, they did not scoff, but humbly asked, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:22). Because we sincerely want to change, we can respond to criticism with, “Thanks for sharing that. I’ll pray and see what to do about it.”
Which beam is in your eye that you’ve had such a hard time accepting the reproofs of others?
What Do You Think?
a. In which types of circumstances is it appropriate to point out the flaws in others?
b. If someone hates constructive criticism directed at him, what’s the best way to bring up the issue? Does the Proverbs 9:8 help? It says, “Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”