13th July 2019

To Thine Own Self Be True

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?’ Hypocrite! Frst remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV)

Jesus had a keen sense of the absurd. In this case he used humour to underline a profound truth. His point was that we should be careful about being judgmental. It might say a lot more about ourselves than about the person we are criticising!

There is a quirk in human nature that character flaws we suffer from, but don’t acknowledge, tend to be very grievous to us when we see them in someone else. If we often notice something that makes us indignant, that is a red flag that we may be harbouring that exact same thing ourselves and just haven’t recognized and faced up to it.

It reminds me of a sparrow fighting with a mirror. In his bird-brain, the sparrow in the mirror is a mortal enemy. He doesn’t know he is fighting with himself. Likewise someone on a crusade to fight some perceived injustice might be responding to that exact same tendency deep below the surface of their own character. They attack the other people in the delusion that they are addressing flaws which in reality are their own. If we think we are incapable of evil, or our flaws are minor ones, we deceive ourselves. Nobody likes admitting failings, even to ourselves! But being honest to ourselves about ourselves is the first and necessary step to developing mature and good character.

Our natural tendency is to assign the best of motives to ourselves. We are quick to find excuses for our failings. Such ego-salving reflexes don’t seem that serious, but can grow into a habit of dishonesty. If we don’t bring our failings out into the open in the form of honest self-evaluation, they don’t cease to exist. They will manifest in insidious ways. The strain of constant self-deception will become an intolerable burden. It will make us devious or treacherous. It can even make us ill!

You can fool all of the people some of the time, but ultimately you can’t fool yourself. Truth will out. On the other hand, facing up to our less attractive motives will free us from the futile effort of trying to justify them. Awareness of evil within ourselves enables us to avoid acting on it. That is liberating, and essential for inner peace.

Father, help us to open our eyes to the reality of sin. Help us to honestly and humbly see the bad as well as the good in ourselves. Thank you for your salvation from sin.

Study by Joe Casey

About the Author:
Joseph Casey is an Elder in the Limerick Congregation of the Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International, Limerick
Please phone for venue

Meeting time:
The first and third Saturday of each month at 1:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Joseph Casey
Phone: +353 872592983
Email: joecasey@shannontechnology.ie

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One Response to “13th July 2019”

  1. John Magowan on July 13th, 2019 9:59 am

    Good article this morning Joe and one that we all need to take to heart at all times. The human heart can be quite devious indeed.

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