“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 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? 5 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.
I must admit that when I read this passage, I sometimes wonder (with a little resentment) why Jesus didn’t say, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the speck in your own eye?” Why does MY eye have the log? Why can’t we both just have specks?
And that’s what this passage is all about, isn’t it? Jesus is teaching about not judging, and I start to whine that my flaws shouldn’t be any worse than anyone else’s. As soon as I begin comparing specks, Jesus’ words about judgment are clearly spoken for me!
Today our Lenten practice is goodwill. Goodwill includes kindness, benevolence, concern, and generosity. If we treat others with goodwill, we treat any flaws we may notice with mercy, understanding and compassion. We are aware that we have the same flaws. And- I’m learning- that we even have worse flaws!
Perhaps we lack goodwill especially when we are driving. Why do we tend to judge those who make mistakes with less goodwill than we do for ourselves? We may judge other drivers with descriptive words such as “aggressive,” “ignorant,” “impatient,” and “reckless.” But our own mistakes are “innocent,” “unavoidable,” “rare,” and “understandable.” It is so easy to treat ourselves more benevolently than the stranger in the other car.
For today, let’s ask God to make us aware of moments when we are apt to critically judge others, and moments when we might overlook our own flaws. Our symbol for today is a tape measure (or ruler), to remind us to be aware of how we are measuring and comparing others with ourselves. Let’s pray that the tape measure will especially remind us to keep from measuring at all!
God loves us all with goodwill. Equally. Totally. Generously. Specks, logs and everything in between.
Thank you for your goodwill and love for all of us. Help me to remember that you love us all, totally and infinitely. I don’t need to measure myself with any others to have your love. You love me anyway. Help me to share that same love today. Help me to put down my tape measure and treat everyone with goodwill and kindness. Amen.