Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6
Observation: Jesus warns us not to judge others, but rather to look at ourselves first and where we’re falling short. He finishes by telling them not to waste what is holy on people who are unholy.
Application: Where are all of my fellow responsible, rule-following, law-abiding, caring-for-everyone else older siblings out there? (And by responsible/rule-following/law-abiding/caring-for-everyone-else, I mean bossy. Obviously.)
Growing up as the older sister, I fit this role perfectly. I was protective, responsible, and always ready to make sure my little sister was following the rules. (And yes, by “the rules,” I mean the rules I set for her and forcefully bullied her into following.) A few years ago, we dug out old VHS tapes and found one from my sister’s third birthday. She opened up a Polly Pocket (remember those?!), and I immediately took it from her, read that it was for children ages 4+, and told my mom she wasn’t allowed to have it because she was only three. Although I’m sure my mom was extremely thankful for my conscientiousness (not), she assured me it was okay and ushered my attention elsewhere.
On the very day that Katie unwrapped her age-inappropriate Polly Pocket, I had probably read books and played with toys that were “too old” for me according to the guidelines on the package. But I wasn’t focused on me, I was focused on her.
Even if we’re not the quintessential older sibling, we often find ourselves focused on what others should and shouldn’t be doing. If we’re honest, it’s a lot easier to look at and judge others than to look at our own lives, our own shortcomings and sins.
Jesus knew how easily we could focus on others and not see ourselves – our own hang-ups, identity issues, weaknesses. In Matthew 7, here’s what he says to us:
“First, get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (v. 5)
Before we look outward, we should look inward.
Once we’ve made a decision to put our faith in Jesus, our entire life is about becoming more like him – and we can only become more like him when we pause and examine the parts of ourselves that don’t reflect his endless compassion, deep love, and boundless grace. Looking inward is a difficult, arduous process, one that requires us to be open to changing everything in us that separates us from our Savior.
Where are you looking right now? Are you looking at others, readily seeing their sin and shortcomings, without facing your own? Or are you continually looking inward, asking your Father to reveal the parts of yourself that are imperfect and impure?
We find wholeness and healing in Christ when we face our own brokenness.
Prayer: God, I pray you help me do the hard work of examining myself, looking at the parts of myself that are impure and broken. I confess those to you today. Replace my judgement of others with the same deep and undeserving love you have for me. Amen.