Matthew 7:3-5 - Nosy Parkers

Jesus said: “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? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Have you ever noticed how we like to fix the faults in other people instead of fixing them in ourselves? There are three reasons why we do this. One is because when we look at the faults of others, we feel better about our own. For instance, we might watch porn every day, but when we see somebody committing adultery, we can justify it by saying: Oh, I only watch porn; I am not sleeping around with somebody else.

The second reason is that it allows us to feel superior to others. When we climb up on a high moral horse and point out every one's sins, doesn't it feel wonderful? The Pharisees loved doing this. They labeled everybody who didn't do what they did a sinner and strutted around like pompous peacocks, acting like they were better than everybody else. Jesus tried to cut them down to size, but when you are used to looking down your nose at everybody, it is hard to stop. 

And the third reason is that we are nosy parkers. Nosy parkers are overly inquisitive people. They cannot stop poking their noses into other people's business. And then they like to tell them what they should do and how they should do it. They will use emotional blackmail when it seems like that might work. And all else failing, they will play the spiritual card. That's the one that begins with: But this is what God says you should do, so you better do it.

Does any of this ring a bell? I'm sure it does. At various points in our lives, we have all done this. But we should stop. As Jesus says in today's reading (I paraphrase), "Hey buddy, take a look at yourself before you go around looking at others. Sure, they got flaws, but they are minor compared to the ones you have. Fix yourself first, then fix others." And you know something, when we start looking at ourselves, we will stop looking at others because we'll discover how messed up we are. And then, when we try to fix ourselves up, we won't have the time or inclination to fix others.  

God bless you.