critique YES criticise NO – Luke 6:39-42
Jesus has gathered a reconstituted Israel in the appointment the twelve. Today’s pericope forms part of Luke’s ‘sermon on the plain’ Chapter 6:17-49 is a reinforcement of the parabolic messages of verses 20-38 where one is exhorted to love one’s enemies and not be quick in judging others. This is the code by which the reconstituted Israel is to live its calling.
The text is an invitation to a personal examination of our lives. Jesus is exhorting one to remove the plank from one’s eye rather than be focused on the splinter in another’s. In no way are the words of Jesus to be misconstrued as a denial of failings in the life of others. Everyone has their failings but what is essential is to be able to identify my own blind spot first.
When I become aware of my inadequacies, I become gentler with dealing with others and think the best of others rather than the worst. Such an attitude helps me to hold off criticism till I have cleaned my own slate. In short, Jesus is challenging the way we evaluate people and the yard sticks we use.
For the apostles and the disciples of Jesus, self-examination was to be an important part in their role as leaders. One can’t lead others if one is lost themselves and if they attempt to do so they will both fall in a pit. Verse 39 is not a text meant to be read in reference to false leaders in Luke community but rather Luke wants to reiterate that the disciples are blind as long as they do not open their eyes to the teachings of Jesus.
Hence the disciple is called to discernment. Discernment is when contemplation and action meet; I have thought things through and acted responsibly in conformity with the teachings of Jesus. God wants to protect our heart and discernment is the gift he offers us.
It is impossible for anyone not to form an opinion but that is not tantamount to judging. However, when I allow my opinion to be acted upon, when I add a consequence to the opinion then I judge someone else. The domino effect is bound to take place! Once I judge another I would feel compelled to pass sentence in condemnation of the other.
When we judge another, we open ourself to the danger of dehumanising another. Consider and read this carefully:
People make mistakes
People make mistakes often
People make mistakes daily
People purposely make mistakes they regret later.
You and I are one of those people made mention of in the previous statement.
The fact is that we all make mistakes and that’s why pencils have eraser.
Jesus want us to be more humane towards others. The consideration of the possibility of the log in our eye is not meant to be a comparison of our faults with another’s as much as it is a call to act urgently in removing the plank in my own eye.
The words of Philippians 2: 1-11 is a great reflection on Jesus as a perfect example of humility in such matters. St Paul exhorts his community to “do nothing from selfish ambitions or conceit, but in humility to regard others as better than yourself”(verse 3).
Jesus Christ did not judge, he taught……