Challenge Month: Day 10 (be critical lest ye be hypocritical)

Day 10 – September 10

In Luke 6: 39-42 Jesus calls out the hypocrites for wanting to remove splinters from others’ eyes when they don’t even notice the wooden beam in their own.

I remember hearing this reading on a Wednesday at St. Mary of Mercy with Fr. Joe Freedy back in 2015. I have no doubt I heard it plenty of times before that, but I don’t recall ever having it move me the way it did that time.

It is so easy to look at others and notice their issues and think “Well at least I’m not as bad as X”. It is tempting to judge, especially when you are looking to feel better about some of your own shortcomings. “I may be bad about Y, but at least I don’t do Z like that other person!”.

When I think of this reading I jump to that place of thinking. But if you look more closely I’m not even as good as the hypocrites. Because they are at least trying to help the others remove their splinters. True, they have wooden beams in their own eyes and so they aren’t going to be a great source of help. But at least they try to help.

If they are coming from a place of truly wanting to help others then that is at least something better than what I do. I just sit there and compare myself to others and obviously always think that I am better than them. But how much worse am I because I don’t even offer to help!

“Judge not lest ye be judged” is one thing. But “Be critical lest ye be hypocritical” is another. OK, I made that second one up, but I think it fits — because if I am going to be critical of others (regarding anything, in any amount) it may really be me being very hypocritical. When I am tempted to judge and compare I need to remember that I am a very flawed person, too. I should contemplate my flaws and try to be a better person. Oh, and I should also remember to try to help others.

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