Where’s My Joy Gone (Matthew 7:3-5)
Matthew 7:3-5, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”
Jesus condemns the habit of criticizing others while we ignore our own faults. Believers must first submit to God’s righteous examination and to the standards of His Word before attempting to evaluate and influence the conduct of others, particularly other Christians. It is very easy to see the minor faults in those about us, while being oblivious to major faults in our own life. Jesus illustrates this truth by a mote, which literally refers to a piece of straw or a fleck of debris. He contrasts that to a beam which refers to a construction timber. He draws attention to the irony by exaggeration. The greater context is of avoiding a critical attitude. When we find fault in those around us while ignoring our own faults, Jesus said that we are hypocrites.
The one person standing between you and joy could be in the mirror. A husband and his wife had been married for many years when the husband began to notice his wife’s hearing was fading. He didn’t want to talk with her directly about it at first, so he shared the problem with his family doctor. The doctor told him to stand 40 feet away and call to his wife to see if she would respond. Then he was to get closer and closer, until she was finally able to hear his voice. When the husband arrived home, he thought he would try the test on his wife. Sitting in his den, he called to her in the kitchen, “What’s for dinner, Honey?” There was no response. The husband took a few steps closer and called his wife again. Silence. This continued until he was right behind her in the kitchen as he asked the question. Suddenly, his wife whirled around with a knife in her hand and said, “For the fifth time, it’s spaghetti with meatballs!” The husband discovered he was the one with the problem. Have you ever accused someone of something, only to find you were at fault? We’ve all done it from time to time. The key to moving forward is to acknowledge our faults. The problem is, instead of doing this, we often shift the blame.
Consider the consequences of blame-shifting:
·The guilty person escapes taking responsibility, thus never changing their behavior.
·With behavior never changing, old patterns continue.
·Shifting the blame, combined with old, dysfunctional patterns, creates chaos, altering the conversation from the guilty person’s actions onto the innocent party.
·The innocent party feels false guilt from the shifting of responsibility.
·True repentance does not occur.
Shifting the blame is, at its deepest level, an act of immaturity and creates frustration, anger, and confusion. Judgmental people lose sight of the fact that they, too, will be judged. And the same measuring stick they use will be used against them (Matthew 7:2). Pass judgment on others, and your standard will be used to judge you. It’s a boomerang effect. In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus compared having a judgmental attitude to noticing a tiny mote that is in thy brother's eye while being unaware of the beam that is in thine own eye (Matthew 7:3-4). Imagine straining to see a nearly invisible speck, but being oblivious to the board protruding from your eyeball! Notice, Jesus’s remedy to the situation. He didn’t say you shouldn’t help the brother with the speck in his eye. He says, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye (Matthew 7:5). It’ll hurt, but you’ll see clearly. Instead of being judgmental toward others, allow God’s standard to be applied to your own life. If you’re honest, you’ll discover that you fall short. When you’ve addressed your own sin, you’ll be more understanding, compassionate, and righteous in your assessments and better able to help a brother address his own sin.
Could you be the reason why you lack peace and joy? Search your heart. Moreover, ask God to search your heart for sins you need to confess to Him. There may even be things you need to make right with a friend or family member. Don’t put it off. Joy begins with Christ and ends with you. Let nothing stand in your way.
Prayer: Father, help me to be mindful that it is not my place to judge others. Help me to see people the way You see them, and to be filled with compassion, even as someone is doing wrong to me. Help me to respond with love instead of anger and bitterness. I repent of the pride in my life that is evident every time I have a critical, judgmental thought. You have commanded me to walk in forgiveness and love, to rise above offenses, and to walk humbly with You. I choose that road today. I submit all my thoughts to You for approval, choosing loving thoughts and not condemning thoughts, compassionate thoughts not critical thoughts. And kindly remove the log in my eye. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.