MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2015
Why we see in others what’s in us
Sawdust flying – and it does find its way into eyes, as Jesus knew from experience
Jesus said: “Do not judge, or or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of saw dust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
THE teaching in Matthew 6 around the Lord’s Prayer ends with the great focus on ‘first things, first’ or in Jesus’ words, “Seek first [God’s] kingdom and His righteousness, and all these [needful] things will be given to you as well.” We are self-centred, and we always want to focus on what we want and what we need; but the Master says, take a step back and see the bigger picture of God’s order and what He wants to do – His provision will always be part of that order.
God’s order is set in place, or else disrupted, by our heart attitudes. We are either taking our cue from Him, or we are following our feelings and insecurities. Insecurities make us negative, and that negativity is expressed in criticism and especially (most damaging!) judgments of others. Better to recognise the hurts, rejections, fears and of course unforgiveness issues – and resolve them. The Holy Spirit is our best counsellor in this!
Do not judge…
Jesus has a simple-to-follow teaching about a tendency to make unsupported judgments about others. It is not complicated, not a lot of words, not difficult to remember, not difficult to apply. He say simply these two things: “Don’t! And remember, that judgmental attitude will come back on you, in similar measure.”
Seeing our faults in others
He went on to explain simply what every counsellor knows, and what common sense tells us. The faults we perceive in others are the very ones we battle within ourselves. We project something in us on to other people in whom we see ‘faults’. They are not well turned out, or not patient, or not loving, or they don’t relate freely and easily. Guess what? We’re seeing an aspect of ourselves in the other person, and bolstering our self-esteem by judging them to be a worse example than ourselves.
Jesus went on to add the saying about not giving what is sacred to unholy people – “pearls to pigs”. So, He says, be people of good judgment, exercising discernment, but without critical or judgmental spirit. A tall order? On our own, certainly. But Jesus is talking to people in His presence, with the anticipation of the Holy Spirit being given. The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus – and the giver of discernment.
CHECK IT OUT
- We live in a judgmental world, and we all get caught up in its ways. What helps you to recognise this slippery slope?
- Could you engage in some simple accountability – ask each other good questions – with a prayer partner, for early warning on judgmental attitudes?