Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 5 Study # 30
May 25, 2008
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
1901 ASV Translation:
41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42 Or how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
- I. The Problem of Judgmental Hypocrisy.
- A. Jesus identified a major aspect of this problem by His name-calling: Hypocrite. This is a serious reality. All dealings, according to 6:36, are to be governed by "compassion". Thus, the ostensible reason for addressing a "problem" in someone is that someone's true benefit.
- 1. Addressing someone's faults may not be for their sake and still be compassionate if those faults are endangering someone else and the "address" is to protect those in that danger.
- 2. But this text is not about "protecting others", it is about "attempting to remove a visual hindrance" in someone's eye. The purported "motive" (established by Jesus as "compassion") is their good. But the very fact that one allows his own vision to be so terribly corrupt as to be likened to having a large timber in one's eye means that the purported motive is not the real one. Any time the "purported" is not the same as the "real", hypocrisy is involved.
- B. The context identifies the more devious aspect of this problem: self-exaltation. Any time a "blind" man offers to guide someone, he is exalting himself. Any time a disciple attempts to seem superior to his teacher, he is exalting himself. Any time a man with hardly any vision of his own purports to want to remove a very small visual problem in another, he is exalting himself. This is John's, "the boastful pride of life" (1 John 2:16), run amuck.
- II. Some Other "Problems".
- A. What is a "mote"?
- 1. Physiologically, it is a very small piece of plant matter. It might be a very small piece of chaff that the breeze blows into a person's eye. The word itself indicates a very small piece of dried out plant matter.
- 2. Theologically, it is a small aberration from Truth.
- a. At this point, the doors of the debate swing wide open because what is "small" to one person may be very "large" to another. More times than not, though, the issue that determines what is "small" and what is "large" is obsessive fixation rather than Truth. For example, James says that "pure religion" before God is being willing to help orphans and widows (1:27) but in a recent perusal of a web site that purports to be a "plumb line" of doctrinal purity, the use/non-use of musical instruments in a worship service has taken over that realm of "pure religion".
- b. Can there actually be a "small" matter in aberrations from Truth? Surely all such aberrations lead to significant consequences do they not? Yes. But, though there is a long-term development of significance from a very insignificant-appearing beginning in almost every case (this is how the mystery of iniquity works), there is yet a significant difference between "believing" that God is "more 'holy' than 'compassionate' " (a theological error) and "believing" that God saves those who keep His commandments (a 'more serious' theological error).
- 3. Practically, it is a small violation of some principle of Truth. As above, there is a significant difference between the "smallness" of simple slothfulness (a "practical application of a poor theology") in dressing for the meetings of the church and the "greatness" of murdering one's own child (another "practical application of a poor theology"). The disrespect made apparent by one's exaltation of his/her own apparel preferences over the reality of what "church" is supposed to mean is not nearly as great as the brutality of murdering one's own child.
- B. The "beam" is simply the opposite of a "mote".