Do you condemn others? Jesus linked a condemning heart with the eyes, or one’s perspective. Borrowing an illustration from His construction days, He said that the antidote to a condemning heart was to take the plank out of our own eye so that we can see clearly enough to help someone with the speck in his (Matthew 7:3-5).
The plank in our own eye is our personal sin of pride, and it leaves a blind spot (Ephesians 4:18). Jesus referred to a person with this blind spot as a hypocrite-an actor, one with a mask, a pretender. Paul told the Galatians to go restore someone caught in sin with total humility as if they were capable of committing the same mistake-no acting, no masks, no pretending. (Galatians 6:1).
Someone who has truly received God’s forgiving grace simply cannot condemn another person.
Jesus, the Author of grace, did not condemn the woman caught in adultery: “Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin'” (John 8:10-11).
One of my mentors owned a landfill outside an upscale southeastern community. We traveled throughout the United States together searching for collector cars to add to his collection. On one trip, he was telling me how challenging it had been for him to receive zoning approval for his landfill-something that every community needs, but no community seems to want. I will never forget what he told me. He said, “Mitchell, everybody thinks garbage stinks, except his own. They would need a constant natural odor eliminator to even bother with it.” In many ways Jesus was saying the same thing, the plank in our eye is believing that our own sin garbage does not really stink.
One tool we can use to recognize and remove the plank in our own eye lies in two simple words: “Me too.” Before we go to anyone caught in sin, we need to be able to look inside our hearts and say, “Me too.”