Rev. Jan Gregory-Charpentier
Kingston Congregational Church
July 11, 2021
“Of all the questions Jesus asks, this one stands out as perhaps being one of the most vivid, the most visually comic. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye?”
You can see them now, can’t you, men and women, walking around with tree trunks growing out of their eyeballs but in no way deterred from their righteous effort to point out the speck of saw dust in someone else’s. “Let me tell you what’s wrong with you… with your ideas, your lifestyle, your theology, your priorities, your _________ (you fill in the blank),” all the while their own flaws are glaringly apparent seemingly to everyone else but them. We know the type, don’t we? We’ve worked with them. We’ve lived next door to them. We were born into the same family as them. Maybe we’ve even met them at church (not our church, of course!).
Jesus uses a word in this passage that he frequently applies to the Pharisees: the word is “hypocrite.” Later on in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus will confront the Pharisees with their hypocrisy, again using some wonderfully visual language….”
…Jesus, in his loving but unrelenting way, seems to see right into the heart of humanity. It isn’t just that there are overly-critical, judgmental people out there who make our lives difficult at times, the so-called Pharisee all around us. The truth is we are them. We all have a penchant for seeing the faults of others and overlooking our own. So, let’s rephrase the question: Why do we see speck in our neighbor’s eye but do not see the log in our own?