Tuesday, January 9: First take the plank out of your own eye
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 7:1-6
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
"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.
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."
As Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount teaching, he moves from personal temptations to interpersonal relations. Here he warns against inappropriate judging and commends wise evaluation. Judgment that condemns others before God without regard for your own failures is dangerous and leaves you open to that same harsh judgment from God that you've pronounced against others.
A healthy dose of introspection can be a good exercise. Ask the Lord to help you see your own life honestly, as he sees it. Ask the Holy Spirit to aid you in overcoming sin and disobedience as you uncover it in your heart. And see if you can go all day without being critical of others.