"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."
– Matthew 7:3-5
Above: One of the most oft quoted passages of scripture by those that are Christians and those that are not. This passage of the Bible is used for weaponry when someone is sensitive to criticism and wants to use the Bible to ward off such criticism. Folks who don’t even know the Lord, because of their superficial church exposure, are quick to quote this passage from the Sermon on the Mount to repel Christians and justify their behavior that usually is outside the boundaries of God’s kingdom.
But, there is some great stuff in just these three little verses. And, as The Christian Politician, I think I have just the spiritual revelation to bring some light to those that would look at this passage in the traditional way and completely miss a great revelation that could not only help us individually, but the advancement of liberty and the GOP. Yes, this little lesson from the Master can actually help the Republican Party.
The non-Christian’s interpretation, when they look at this passage in the Bible, believes that the Christian is prohibited from offering criticism because the Christian is imperfect. Thus, when the Christian offers criticism, this imperfection makes him/her a hypocrite. That’s inaccurate. What the Lord Jesus says to do is deal with our own individual issues, first, then we are in a position to deal with our brother’s issues. He never says to not bring the faults of your brother to his attention. He wants to make sure that we are aware of our faults, our imperfections, before we take on an air of "perfection". Some may call this, "self-righteousness".
What we as Christians are called to do is to hold the mirror up to ourselves. We are mandated to be honest with our own faults and take those faults to the Lord for removal. He’s the only one that can do so. It’s only by the power of His word, His spirit, and His blood that the spiritual afflictions we deal with can be healed and then we can go to our brother and point out his sinful sickness. We have to hold the mirror up to ourselves – and, as 2 Corinthians 13 commands – aim for perfection. And as we become honest with ourselves, recognize our faults and deal with our faults, we have a right to approach our brother and tell him to get his act together.
In Matthew 23, the Lord Jesus is just as stern as He warns His disciples not to follow the example of the Pharisees, those that do not practice what they preach. So this idea of stating one thing but doing another is very insulting to the Lord. Republicans are guilty of this in several ways. But we’ll just look at one, huge, overbearing example.
Let’s replace the role of the one troubled with a "speck" with a liberal Democrat. And let’s replace the role of the one suffering with a "plank" with a conservative Republican. How would things look? The conservative Republican would be the one that is very quick to point to the faults of the Democrat by accurately saying that they would like government to do all sorts of things that are not approved by the constitution and rightly belongs under the purpose of the Church. The liberal Democrat could rightly jab back that the Republican is just as guilty of the same violations.
"Now, wait just a minute!", you say. "How dare you equate us conservative Republicans with Pharisees! Maybe you’re being a bit self-righteous?"
Maybe. But I’ll make my point, regardless of your judgement.
In future blogs, I’ll expand on what I’m about to offer.
The government has a role. The Church has a role. And liberals are confused about those roles. And conservatives are confused about those roles. They are both equally guilty.
The liberal wants to replace the intended benevolence of the Church with the power of government. The conservative – poisoned by the influence of the religious right ("religious" is not a title someone should aspire to because it conjures images of Pharisees) – wants to replace the salvation, deliverance, and healing intended to be offered through the Church with the power of government. Both segments of the political spectrum are well meaning, but in great error. And the conservative Republican had better refrain from leveling accusations against the liberal Democrat until they can get a grip on their constitutional transgressions.
Those future blogs will include examples of the political sins committed by both ends of the political spectrum.
2008©Claver T. Kamau-Imani