Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Parables of Jesus: The Speck in Your Brother's Eye

Matthew 7:[3]-5:

And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother' s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother' s eye.

Praised be Jesus Christ!

Now and forever. Amen.

Do you remember Jesus' teaching that the eye is the lamp of the body? This continues in that vein, somewhat. In this case, we see motes and beams that are in the eye--which, if we continue in the same thought pattern, causes darkness within. What Jesus is alluding to here is sin.

We have a tendency, don't we? To see the sin in others, but not in ourselves? It's because observation of others is easier than observation of the self, because one is more passive, and the other more active. You have to actively examine yourself to see where your faults lie. You don't really have to do that with others. You just kind of notice it. It's there in your face, especially if it's a sin that you happen to take pride in avoiding, yourself.

But, Jesus isn't comparing apples to apples here. It's not like He's saying, don't clean the speck out of your brother's eye, when there's a speck in yours. Rather, it's more like apples to oranges. He's saying, don't try to clean the speck out of your brother's eye, when there is a beam in your own.

Not only are you a hypocrite for behaving this way, but you're also ineffective. How can the blind lead the blind? If you are in grave sin, how can you expect to help your brother with his venial sin? Look to yourself first. Find healing from the Lord for yourself first.

So, there's two things here. There's "seeing" the mote in your brother's eye--this pertains to a judgmental attitude, which is hypocritical when we have beams in our own eyes. There is also "saying," "let me cast out the mote" of my brother's eye--this pertains to ineffective help, but also has a certain quality of judgment to it. This becomes clearer when you examine the preceding verses.

Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The "seeing" is the judgment your judge, and the "saying" is the measure you mete. For, do we not, in our effort to "correct" our brother, exact a certain amount of justice upon him?

Consider this: you are at Mass, and you notice a family coming into Mass late. How do you react internally, and how do you react externally? Internally, do you say to yourself, "come on people, don't you know it's a sin to come in to Mass late?" You have just "seen" the speck in your brother's eye. But you, holding this judgment in your heart, are guilty of not discerning the Body--the unity of the Christian family--because you now hold something against your brother that you have not settled with him before offering the sacrifice.

Now, what do you do externally? Do you approach the family after Mass and "correct" them for not coming to Mass on time? Now you are "saying" let me take out the mote, but meanwhile you are causing humiliation, and are guilty of harming their reputation.

With what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Let us first recognize the beams in our own eyes, the great sins that we have to triumph over. And then, recognizing the magnitude of these sins, let us approach our neighbor with an attitude of offering them the benefit of the doubt; perhaps they do not know what they are doing is a sin. Be merciful, and you shall receive mercy. Be forgiving, and you shall be forgiven.

It's okay to help your brother, and to draw out the sin from his life. Just make sure not to become a hypocrite in the process.

God bless, and thank you for reading!

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