Looking down on others?


“How could they? What’s wrong with them?”  Ever uttered those words about somebody else? It’s quite common to get agitated about the sins of another generation, another society, while being oblivious to our own. Somehow the blemish in our own life turns into just ‘being human,’ but a similar one in the life of someone else is inexcusable.

In Jesus’ time, the Pharisees, a sect of Jews whose focus was on a strict adherence to the Law of Moses, were proud of their detailed rules for life. The tragedy of their attempts at righteousness, Jesus said, was that they managed to look great on the outside while on the inside they were an ugly mess of sordid sins!  Among Christians there can be a tendency to the sin of the Pharisees. He told them, at one point, that in their attempt to be clean they strained the gnats out of their drink but swallowed camels.

Jesus used humor another day driving home the serious point about the sin of hypocrisy. He reminds us that we need to take care of our own sins and failures before we attempt to ‘clean up’ those in the lives of others. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 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 7:1-5, NIV)

Too often Jesus’ words get twisted. “Do not judge,” is turned into a way to avoid accountability. Some feel that the Lord is telling us that we have no right to hold standards about the behavior of anyone else. Read the whole passage carefully. The true intent of His words is to call us to compassionate care for one another. “First take the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck.” Remember that we when quickly offer an opinion about the way another is living, we are inviting the same to be done to us. When we fail to try to understand why someone is living as they are, condemning without loving, we have a major sin issue in our own life.

The message of the New Testament is centered on redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. It’s why Jesus came. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.” (Romans 5:8-9, NLT)  God did not look at human rebellion and resistance and decide it did not matter. He acted in love to meet our need so that we could change. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” (John 3:17, NLT) After the Cross, which set us right with God, He gave the Spirit to be our ‘Counselor,’ to live in us, so that we could be changed into the likeness of Christ Jesus. Think about that.

Let’s make redemption our first impulse in a world that is broken and bleeding. We can start by receiving God’s love in a profoundly healing way in our own hearts, taking away our fear of judgment. People who are loved, learn to love. Those who are secure in God’s grace are able to overflow with grace. Instead of ‘looking down’ on someone in need to give a ‘hand up,’ they choose to walk alongside of them to help them find the way out.

Here is a word from the Word. The implications of the call in these inspired lines is BIG, asking you and me to get out of our holy houses and to let the Light of Jesus shine in places where it is darkest. “We don’t go around preaching about ourselves; we preach Christ Jesus, the Lord. All we say about ourselves is that we are your servants because of what Jesus has done for us.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that this light is the brightness of the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies.

So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7, NLT)  “All of these things are for your benefit. And as God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:15, NLT)


This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

–              Public domain

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