“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
When Jesus says that something should come “first,” we should seriously consider it and know for certain that He has reason for making it a priority. In this Scripture, the Lord is teaching us about the importance of dealing with our personal sin. In essence, the text examines the error of being more aware of and concerned with the sins of others than we are our own personal sins. We can be guilty of beholding their sin, “the mote that is in thy brother’s eye,” and ignoring our sin, “the beam that is in thine own eye.”
This is often a more serious matter than people imagine. Concentrating on the sin of others can produce the kind of critical spirit that poisons our spiritual lives. When people are overcome with this tendency, even the smallest error in others gets their undivided attention. When Jesus spoke of beholding “the mote that is in thy brother’s eye,” He described things that are extremely small, especially when compared to the glaring inconsistencies or sins in our lives. Probably all of us have found ourselves in this place at some time or another. Jesus puts us in our place when He refers to us as being a “hypocrite.” It surely is hypocrisy to point out the shortcomings of others while acting as though we have none. Quite often, it is our pride that keeps us from being honest about our spiritual condition and from dealing with our sin. Pride causes us to be inclined to magnify the sins of others. We must be willing to humble ourselves if we plan to see God’s hand of blessing in our lives.
The Bible is not forbidding us from helping our brothers and sisters, seeking to “cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Jesus teaches us that we must “first” deal with our sin in order that we might be able to help others. As a matter of fact, we are not able to “see clearly” to help others if we have sins that are not dealt with in our own lives. Unconfessed sin and unresolved conflicts have a blinding affect on our spiritual discernment. If we are going to effectively serve Christ, we must first deal with our sins.