THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
Today’s gospel: Matthew 7:1-5
Unity in the body of Christ is crucial, for its witness and
for its effective mission. Two things that foment disunity
are a critical spirit and gossip.
critical spirit is one where we are often criticizing the
perceived shortcomings of our brethren. Now are there shortcomings?
Certainly there are. Are we not to see and recognize such?
Yes it is good to be aware. But Jesus tells us, “Stop
judging, that you may not be judged.” (v.1). What does
it is not passing judgment on the person. We all have faults
and failings. These are not necessarily wrong in themselves.
So we can see and recognize the failings of others but not
conclude that the people themselves are bad. They are just,
well, very human.
taking off from the first, we should be mindful of our own
shortcomings. “Why do you notice the splinter in your
brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in
your own eye?” (v.3). We often find fault, but are unmindful
of our own grave faults. Oftentimes we become haughty as we
look down on others. If we recognized our own shortcomings,
then we would become more humble and thus more charitable
we must know that we are judged by God as we judge others.
“For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure
with which you measure will be measured out to you.”
(v.2). That should be a sobering thought. Our holy and perfect
God certainly see many shortcomings and faults that we have.
We can only turn to God in humble repentance and ask for His
mercy. But our conduct towards our brethren will determine
God’s conduct towards us. We must leave judgment on
His people to God.
those who concern themselves with the shortcomings of others
often fail to recognize their more serious offenses. When
one is critical and judgmental, then one fails in charity,
and that failure to love is a great offense. Then we often
see that such persons who have a critical spirit actually
have hidden sins such as pride and a divisive spirit. Thus
Jesus calls them “hypocrites” (v.5a). They look
down on others and thus put themselves in a lofty position,
when they themselves are debased.
as has been said, we do inevitably see the faults of others.
And in Christian community we are expected to try to help
our brethren to overcome such faults. But we must do so in
charity, kindness and respect, not judging, but only desiring
the good of the brethren. We look to our own relationship
with God and brethren first, putting those in good order,
and then God can use us to help others. So “remove the
wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
in recognizing the faults of others, we must never resort
to gossip. This is when we tell others who have no business
knowing. This puts brethren in a bad position, in the eyes
of others. If we want to help remove the splinter from our
brother’s eye, then we go to him directly. If somehow
that is not possible, we go to someone who has moral authority
to do something about it. The gossip has not only judged,
but has caused others to sin if they become judgmental as