40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Verse 42- To put it plainly, this would be a man who tells his friend whom he knows has a problem with lust to deal with it and yet, this same man who rebuked his friend actually has an ongoing extra-marital affair. Talk about the plank (the real act of committing adultery) versus a speck (committing adultery in a person’s heart).
The 1st man’s motive is not towards a desire to make his friend whole and be right with God, but rather to elevate himself and appear to look more righteous than his friend.
– First take the plank out of your eye – When a person is right with God, and tells another person what they see is a problematic area, God sees the motive. Even though it can be misconstrued by people, glory in the fact that you are within bounds to resume your duty of leading someone to get right with God and of course one also has to be mature to take a rebuke.
I once shared good fellowship with an ex-friend, a woman whom I will call “Emme.” Everything was great in the beginning. She was my neighbor and whenever I baked or cooked something special for a certain occasion, I would have my son take some to her house. She reciprocated and she made it known that I can’t give her something without her feeling to give something back. I was taken aback by that mentality but I kept it to myself.
She claimed to be a Christian but she would call my house and badmouth her coworkers. It got to the point where I cringed to even pick up her phone calls as it apparently was a habit. I would listen to her and when I wanted to talk and explain about theological issues, she had the tendency to change the subject.
Emme happened to be a divorcée. She was lonely. She would come to our house and we shared some good laughs. For a time she became part of my family. Then one day, she found a man. This man happened to be in the process of getting a divorce and here she was, dating this man who was clearly still married in the eyes of God and of the court to someone else.
Emme’s ex-husband was unfaithful to her. I asked her if it didn’t bother her to be the third wheel in someone else’s marriage and asked how it felt like to be the wife of a man who was leaving her for someone else. She explains the man she was dating was separated and that I was judging her and that I called her an adulterer which I never did. She knew the clear implication but because I said something to her about what she was doing, she went as far as attacking my family and my character.
God is so good as I was feeling quite awful that day, I heard a message from a pastor which was very timely about the exact situation I was going through. People won’t take it especially if you point truth but don’t get discouraged. Needless to say, that immediately boosted my morale.
I had no choice but to sever my toxic relationship with Emme. Since we live in a world where being politically correct has become a way of life, it has become common practice for people, even Christians, to stay quiet when something needs to be called for what it is. Of course I didn’t say she was an adulterer, her own actions condemned her.
Will people misunderstand? Of course. All the time. Jesus in the flesh spoke nothing but the truth and yet, because His words were ever so piercing, the Jews wanted to hurl him off a cliff (see Luke 4:25-29).
Point of the story is, God sees every person’s motive. He is so awesome that even when a finite person who cannot fully discern someone’s intent sees it differently, He sends a word of comfort to confirm whether you are doing right or doing wrong. What matters the most is that your own conscience does not condemn you, and since we are still in this corruptible body, this is where we are rightly called to exercise Matthew 5:44 via Young’s Literal translation to “pray for those accusing you falsely.”