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Judging others

Gospel Reading: Lk 6:39-42
Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”


In this final unit, Jesus is calling his disciples to pay attention to which teachers they follow. A blind leader will only lead someone into a pit. Jesus’ point is that the disciple is like his teacher, so if the teacher is blind, the student will be blind, too. Blindness is a common figure for spiritual blindness (cf Ps 25:5; 86:11; 119:35); thus, Jesus is warning here about religious leadership. One should follow the right teacher and not apply too much authority on oneself. In the context of this discourse, only one such teacher exists – Jesus. A disciple should not try to go beyond him. Jesus continues to attack a critical spirit, like that of the Pharisees, by pointing to the quickness with which we are hypocritically aware of a splinter in someone else’s eye but ignore the log in our own.

It takes nerve to talk to a fellow human being about his or her fault while pretending we have none of our own. Jesus does not absolve us of community accountability, however. The way to deal with it is by paying attention to our own faults first and dealing fully with them before turning our attention to the treatment of the shortcomings of others (cf Gal 6:1-5).

If there is to be accountability, it must start with ourselves.

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