Here is how you accept and love other people just as they are, regardless of who they are, or what they have done. You settle, once and for all, the issue of measuring righteousness and comparing your sin with others by concluding that your sin is, and will always be, worse than anyone else’s. It’s a foregone conclusion. We know how the answer is going to come out every time, so don’t even bother. It simplifies everything, doesn’t it?
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s 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? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
First, notice what’s going on here. You are all worked up over someone else’s sin and completely oblivious to your own. If you had to be honest, most likely, in your own mind, the other person has a plank is his eye while yours is only a speck. You’re pretty sure of that. As a matter of fact, he is pretty fortunate to have your help. Sure, it’s going to be tough for that person to accept their own sin, but that’s okay, you’re going to be very patient and forgiving when you point out his plank to him, and hopefully, he will take it well. And, of course, it will probably help him when you admit that you have had a speck of a problem in that area yourself.
Gag me with a spoon, but isn’t that pretty close to how we think? We are much more familiar with everyone else’s sin than we are with our own. In fact, it’s always easier to spot the other’s guy’s sin. Everyone else wears sin much better than we do.
Jesus turns the table on this little charade, doesn’t He? He points out that I’m the guy with plank-eye, the other guy, in comparison, has only a speck in his eye. And Jesus would be quick to point out that this is always the case, regardless. And here is why.
It’s not a matter of comparing sin. It’s a matter of perspective and ownership. My sin will always be bigger than anyone else’s in my own eye, for the mere fact that it is mine. I am an expert on my own sin. I know very little about the other guy’s sin because I am not in his shoes. I don’t understand his motivations; I’m not aware of his influences; I’m not acquainted with his demons. If we must compare, Jesus says my sin will always be greater because it’s mine.
But here’s the best news of all. I can get the plank out of my eye so that none of this is ever necessary. I can take the plank out of my own eye, and once I do, I will never be the same. Having removed the plank, I will be able to attest to the fact that the speck in the other person’s eye is no big deal. “You should have seen what I just took out of my own eye! That’s it? That little speck? That’s nothing!”
So all you need to know about anyone else’s sin is that it’s just a speck compared to yours. That should make accepting someone just as they are a little easier.