Jesus Labeled Christians Who Criticize Others As Hypocrites

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Matthew 7:3)

I was listening recently to an interview with evangelist Michael Youseff, who recounted a conversation with Attorney General John Ashcroft. When Youseff spoke to Ashcroft, Ashcroft was in the Senate.

Ashcroft is unashamedly Christian. In fact, he holds devotions in his office every morning to a growing number of Christians who have been so encouraged by his testimony that they are also no longer bashful about calling themselves Christians.
Youseff was impressed by Ashcroft’s boldness, but wondered how he could refrain from giving his Senate colleagues a piece of his mind about the way they behave. Ashcroft told Youseff, “I’m more worried about the ‘log’ in my own eye.”

John Ashcroft’s comment reminds all of us that we need to worry more about our own shortcomings than we do about someone else’s. But even more importantly, Ashcroft knew that it was God himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, who first told us that we should always strive to live up to that standard.

Jesus said, “How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. (Matthew 7:4-5)

Jesus is speaking personally to all of us who fail to realize that when we point one finger at someone else, three other fingers are pointing right back at us. In fact, in most translations of the Bible, the word, hypocrite was never used by Jesus to describe any other behavior. He chose it especially for the Christian who uses others to make his point.

There are very few instances in the Bible where Jesus spoke directly to an individual. Most of what the Bible records are sermons, warnings or lessons that were directed either at his disciples or groups who traveled near and far to hear him teach. And while we should never minimize anything Jesus said, we should equally never ignore him when he speaks directly to us.

Jesus is telling us that the only way to understand the sin is someone else’s life is to deal with sin in our own lives. That’s exactly what he meant when he said to those who were ready, willing and able to stone an adulterous woman, “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

John Ashcroft’s message is simple: Condemnation is not a Christ-like quality, and therefore, will not produce the Christ-like results. The truth is the Christian who employs such tactics will inevitably be labeled as a hypocrite.

Our goal as Christians is to mirror Jesus. So look in the mirror and if you don’t like what you see, ask Jesus to help you change. After all, he promises us, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)

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