“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

“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: 1 & 5

Two things I often get wrong about Scripture: First, I think the entire book is about ME!!!! It is not. I can locate myself within the progress of redemption, but I am not its beginning, end or thesis. Second, I avoid the bits that actually are directed at me. I like to breeze past the word “You”. It even makes me uncomfortable in sermons; a preacher who uses “You” instead of “We” is threatening.

It’s easy here to read the first command and think, “Yeah, that’s right. PEOPLE shouldn’t be so judgmental, especially Christians.” It is a common character flaw followers of Christ develop. But do you see how that statement deflects my responsibility for my own judgmental attitudes? It seeks to skip past the heavy lifting of personal reflection and repentance.

The truth is the hypocrite’s mask is the most agreeable piece of attire you will find. It will keep you warmer than any hoodie, more comfortable than any pair of sweatpants, and you won’t even know you’ve got it on.

So Jesus tells us, do a self-examine first. I shake my head at hotheads without considering my own anger. How often do I use anger to keep others from seeing my own vulnerability? Every relationship is an arena where my hypocrisy can be exposed and the marriage relationship the most telling. How do I keep the person I love most in the world at arm’s length to preserve my own fragile ego and self-image? What I am so worried will happen? The worst that could happen is that my own ugliness and foulness will be exposed. But I will still be secure in Jesus Christ. He will still love me. And in fact, my good wife has shown me that brand of kindness before. So calm down. Take a breath. Don’t get angry.

Now, right… where were we? Yes, hypocrisy. It’s bad.

Lord, know me. Strip away my sinful masks.

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