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Human beings have a natural tendency to focus on criticising and judging others, when we really should turn our critical gaze on ourselves and examine what motives we have for our behaviour.
I came across this really interesting story by Ruth Knowlton:
"Years ago I lived in an apartment building in a large city. The building next door was only a few feet away from mine, and I could look across the alley into the apartment on the same floor as mine. There was a woman who lived there, whom I have never met, yet I could see her as she sat by her window each afternoon, sewing or reading. After several months had gone by I began to notice that her windows were dirty. Everything was indistinct through her smudged windows. I would say to myself, ‘I wonder why that woman doesn’t wash her windows? They look dreadful!’ One bright morning I decided to do my spring cleaning and thoroughly cleaned my apartment, including washing the windows on the inside. Late in the afternoon when I was finished, I sat down by the window with a cup of coffee for a rest. What a surprise! Across the way, the woman sitting by her window was clearly visible. Her windows were clean! Then it dawned on me. I had been criticizing her dirty windows but all the time I was observing them through my own dirty ones."
No wonder Jesus wrote these words in Matthew 7:1-5: Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (ESV).
There are two sides to this teaching. Firstly, we are not to judge others. Judging others does not come into our province. Imputing motives, as this lady did in the story, is not our place as the Bible teaches us that we cannot read someone’s heart or motivation.
The second teaching of Matthew 7 is “first take the log out of our own eyes”. When we judge others we can miss our own faults and weaknesses. We can overlook or miss major areas or problems in our own lives. These verses teach us to be aware of the blind spots in our own lives.
At the Passover season we are asked to prepare by examining ourselves before our God. Please read 1Corinthinians 11:29-32: ‘But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged’. Part of the preparation for the coming Holy Day season is to look at ourselves through the mirror of God’s Word. Not by judging others and missing the point in our own lives.
Let’s see this again in 2 Corinthians 13:5: Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it (The Message).
Even though we may be striving to live a Godly life and obey Him we still need to ask God to help us to remove the plank from our own eyes. This way we can partake of the symbols of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread in the right spirit.
If you would like to know more about the Passover and the Holydays please download our Bible Study aid: God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.