“… first remove the log from your own eye …” (Matthew 7:1-5).
The Sermon on the Mount is meant to draw a contrast between the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of Christ. Jesus says, “You have heard it said … but I say.” In this text (Matthew 7:1-5), Jesus says, “Here is what some people do; but here is what I want you to do.”
He included a strange, if not humorous, image to get attention and make his point: someone with a log in his eye trying to get a splinter out of someone else’s eye.
We suggest these four thoughts from the text:
1. The way things are (vv. 1-4). The way we judge — measure — others, is the way we are judged by others. We should treat others the way we want to be treated. Why would we expect better treatment for ourselves than we give to others? Why would we expect mercy if we show none ourselves?
People would rather fix others than fix themselves. People see others’ faults easier than their own. For people of the world, this is normal. This is the way things are.
But in the kingdom of Jesus, it is different.
2. The way things ought to be (v. 5b). “Then you will see clearly.” The world is full of spiritual blindness. Only through the life and teachings of Jesus can we “see clearly.” That is the way things ought to be. That is how it must be in the kingdom of Jesus.
3. The obstacles in our way (vv. 3-4). Here, Jesus paints an absurd picture: a man with a log in his eye trying to remove a splinter from another man’s eye. It is purposefully ridiculous. Only a fool would try such a thing. This illustrates worldly thinking and behavior.
Without guidance from Christ, men with logs in their eyes are trying to remove splinters from everyone else’s eyes. This is called “hypocrisy.” The Proverbs writer would have called it “foolish.”
4. How to clear those obstacles (v.5). “First, take the log out of your own eye.” Everyone has something in their eye. Everyone needs help. Man is meant to help his fellow man do and be better. But each one must start with his own self.
To take the log out of one’s eye, he must accept Jesus as Savior and Lord (King). A man without Christ is blind. He must surrender his will to Christ and obey the gospel to be forgiven of his sins (Acts 2:37-38).
He must also walk faithfully with Christ, or the logs will grow back. Imagine the tragedy of being healed of blindness and becoming blind again (re: 2 Pet. 2:20-22)!
Jesus tells us the way things are, the way things ought to be, the obstacles that get in the way, and how to clear them.
The world will not do it.
Those in the kingdom must.