Commentator Kent Hughes said, “We find it so easy to turn a microscope on another person’s sin, but we look at ours through the wrong end of a telescope. We easily spot a speck of phoniness in another, because we have a logjam of it in our own lives. Wrath toward the speck in someone else’s life may come from the suppressed guilt over the same massive sin in our own lives.”
Jesus was using a little humor when He said, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3–4). The word plank speaks of a very large piece of wood, while the word speck speaks of a very small bit of wood, even as small as a little bit of sawdust. So to loosely paraphrase, “How can you get the sawdust out of your brother's eye if you have a telephone pole in yours?”
An interesting twist on this statement is that speck and plank are from the same original word, meaning they are of the same substance. In other words, Jesus was saying the reason some people are so adept at finding fault in the lives of others is because they are so familiar with it themselves. They can spot certain things in another person’s life because they are guilty of the same sin—in probably a greater capacity.
Sometimes the people who are nitpicking the sins of others are guilty of far worse themselves. But if we know anything of being forgiven by God, then we will be forgiving people. Forgiven people should be forgiving people.
Taken from “Check the Mirror” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).