Thou hypocrite, first cast out - Christ directs us to the proper way of forming an opinion of ethers, and of reproving and correcting them. By first amending our own faults, or casting the beam out of our eye, we can “consistently” advance to correct the faults of others. There will then be no hypocrisy in our conduct. We shall also “see clearly” to do it. The beam, the thing that obscured our sight, will be removed, and we shall more clearly discern the “small” object that obscures the sight of our brother. The sentiment is, that the readiest way to judge of the imperfections of others is to be free from greater ones ourselves. This qualifies us for judging, makes us candid and consistent, and enables us to see things as they are, and to make proper allowances for frailty and imperfection.
Thou hypocrite - A hypocrite, who professes to be what he is not, (viz. a true Christian), is obliged, for the support of the character he has assumed, to imitate all the dispositions and actions of a Christian; consequently he must reprove sin, and endeavor to show an uncommon affection for the glory of God. Our Lord unmasks this vile pretender to saintship, and shows him that his hidden hypocrisy, covered with the garb of external sanctity, is more abominable in the sight of God than the openly professed and practised iniquity of the profligate.
In after times, the Jews made a very bad use of this saying: "I wonder," said Rabbi Zarphon, "whether there be any in this age that will suffer reproof? If one say to another, Cast out the mote out of thine eye, he is immediately ready to answer, Cast out the beam that is in thine own eye."
This proverbial mode of speech the Gloss interprets thus: "Cast out? קסים kisim, the mote, that is, the little sin, that is in thy hand: to which he answered, Cast out the great sin that is in thine. So they could not reprove, because all were sinners." See Lightfoot.
Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering one's own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given. In the sermon of Christ upon the mount He said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye; ... and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren, he may be in greater faults himself, but be blind to them. 3T 93.1
All who are followers of Christ should deal with one another exactly as we wish the Lord to deal with us in our errors and weaknesses, for we are all erring and need His pity and forgiveness. Jesus consented to take human nature, that He might know how to pity, and how to plead with His Father in behalf of sinful, erring mortals. He volunteered to become man's Advocate, and He humiliated Himself to become acquainted with the temptations wherewith man was beset, that He might succor those who should be tempted, and be a tender and faithful high priest. 3T 93.2
Frequently there is necessity for plainly rebuking sin and reproving wrong. But ministers who are working for the salvation of their fellow men should not be pitiless toward the errors of one another, nor make prominent the defects in their organizations. They should not expose or reprove their weaknesses. They should inquire if such a course, pursued by another toward themselves, would bring about the desired effect; would it increase their love for, and confidence in, the one who thus made prominent their mistakes? Especially should the mistakes of ministers who are engaged in the work of God be kept within as small a circle as possible, for there are many weak ones who will take advantage if they are aware that those who minister in word and doctrine have weaknesses like other men. And it is a most cruel thing for the faults of a minister to be exposed to unbelievers, if that minister is counted worthy to labor in the future for the salvation of souls. No good can come of this exposure, but only harm. The Lord frowns upon this course, for it is undermining the confidence of the people in those whom He accepts to carry forward His work. The character of every fellow laborer should be jealously guarded by brother ministers. Saith God: “Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.” Love and confidence should be cherished. A lack of this love and confidence in one minister for another does not increase the happiness of the one thus deficient, but as he makes his brother unhappy he is unhappy himself. There is greater power in love than was ever found in censure. Love will melt its way through barriers, while censure will close up every avenue of the soul. 3T 93.3Read in context »
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 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.” Matthew 7:1-5. 8T 85.1
Much is involved in the matter of judging. Remember that soon your life record will pass in review before God. Remember, too, that He has said: “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:1-3. 8T 85.2
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Those who act as Pharisees may not be guilty of exactly the same sins they condemn in others, but they may be guilty of sins much greater in the sight of God. Each will be rewarded according to his work. Let those who condemn others take heed to themselves, lest they be condemned by God for Phariseeism.—Manuscript 37, 1902. TSB 265.2Read in context »
Even the sentence, “Thou that judgest doest the same things,” does not reach the magnitude of his sin who presumes to criticize and condemn his brother. Jesus said, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” MB 125.1
His words describe one who is swift to discern a defect in others. When he thinks he has detected a flaw in the character or the life he is exceedingly zealous in trying to point it out; but Jesus declares that the very trait of character developed in doing this un-Christlike work, is, in comparison with the fault criticized, as a beam in proportion to a mote. It is one's own lack of the spirit of forbearance and love that leads him to make a world of an atom. Those who have never experienced the contrition of an entire surrender to Christ do not in their life make manifest the softening influence of the Saviour's love. They misrepresent the gentle, courteous spirit of the gospel and wound precious souls, for whom Christ died. According to the figure that our Saviour uses, he who indulges a censorious spirit is guilty of greater sin than is the one he accuses, for he not only commits the same sin, but adds to it conceit and censoriousness. MB 125.2Read in context »
And when men in the highest responsible positions make no difference between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, they evidence that their eyes are not single to the glory of God; therefore their whole body is full of darkness. When these men in authority have so mingled with the spirit of worldlings that the words of complaint from the lips of these unbelievers are gathered as verity and truth, they know not what spirit they are of. When they encourage this spirit, and complaints against the people of God, they evidence that they are working on the enemy's side to belittle and humiliate those whom the Lord loves, and that they strengthen the hands of the wicked, who are doing an evil work. When they feel free to suffer the accusers of God's children to plan for them against His chosen ones, they do not have Christ to plan with them. TM 273.1
If one of the children of the Lord errs, then if the men in authority are discerning spiritual things, they will understand that their position allows no betrayal of sacred trusts on their part, and they will not betray the cause of God into the enemy's hands. They will not be reticent to the very ones in whom they should have confidence, and work in silence and secrecy, and open their plans to those who have no sympathy with the chosen people of God. If any workers in our institutions for health are murmured against and accused by unbelievers or believers, let the following special directions given by our Master, Jesus Christ, be placed in mottoes all through the establishment: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” TM 273.2Read in context »