In Matthew’s telling of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to the crowds, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
Have you ever noticed the last verse in the passage says, “then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye”?
“You will see clearly.” Do you see what Jesus does here?
Jesus isn’t telling us to lord our perceived perfection (because none of us are log or speck free) over someone else. He’s showing us that when we address our own brokenness and imperfections, we will see clearly that all of us are imperfect and need grace and understanding. We will see clearly that we are not made good by labeling others as bad and we are not made perfect by pointing out others’ imperfections.
Our ability to be loving and kind can only come from within us and as followers of a Jesus, we believe it truly comes from the power of God’s love for us and for all people. To be formed by God’s love enables us to see the image of God in ourselves and in all people.
When I can see the image of God in others, then I clearly see them. I clearly see that it isn’t my duty to remove their speck but, with God’s help, to take care of what in me is blocking my Christ-like vision for others. I clearly see that every one is a beloved child of God just as I am.
This eye work is ongoing. One dose of eye drops doesn’t fix things for the whole of allergy season and one set of prescription lenses doesn’t last our whole life. Our vision needs regular care. Following Jesus keeps us looking in the right direction. Clearly.
I see the image of God in you. Do you see it for yourself?