The lenses of our eyes are extremely sensitive. It doesn’t take but a speck of dust to stop us in our tracks so that we can delicately and diligently work to extract the irritating particle. That’s what makes Christ’s illustration concerning the undetected “log in our eye” such an extreme indictment regarding our moral and spiritual insensitivity.
His analogy in Matthew 7 is intended to underscore our predisposition to maintaining a keen awareness regarding other people’s sins, while neglecting to ever critically evaluate ourselves. This can be seen in how we read the Bible – especially its many denunciations. How often do we read about God’s stinging rebukes or promised judgments on the doubting Israelites or the compromising nations, without ever pausing to see ourselves in those passages? How regularly do we read stories of disobedience to God and rebellion against his holy precepts, only to regretfully affirm God’s displeasure with someone else?
This is a dangerous practice and one that we must ask God to help us overcome. We must be willing, first and foremost, to stare intently into God’s word as “a mirror” reflecting our own lives (Jms.1:22-25). We must linger over each Scriptural rebuke and allow God’s Spirit to “search the heart and test the mind” (Jer.17:10). “Then,” Jesus said, “you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Mt.7:5).