We all have one. Maybe it’s from one to ten, maybe it’s a list, or maybe it’s more subtle and subconscious. Whatever the criteria, we all seem to have a private scale of how we stack up next to others. This scale can apply to all kinds of different aspects of our personal and private lives. “How well-liked am I? Are my children doing better in school or better behaved than so-and-so?
I have a problem with ________ but at least I don’t ______ like they do!” The classic “speck in my neighbor’s eye while I have a timber in my own eye” syndrome is a common but deadly poison. It seems to be a mistake I am too comfortable to fall into on a frequent basis.
I am ashamed to say I just recently was grumbling to a friend about an acquaintance who had been sharing hurtful gossip with me that should have been kept to themselves. Then the irony of the situation dawned on me—wasn’t I doing the same by gossiping about the gossiper? What a hypocrite I was being! I was continuing the hurtful cycle of sharing private information in a way that wasn’t solving the problem; it was only causing it to grow.
Root of This Problem
When I take the time to examine the root of this problem, I see the ugly truth. I feel “comfortable” and “safe” if I perceive that I am doing better at something than the majority of those around me. I am not struggling with some of the flashier sins, like drug addictions or pornography so I am doing okay, right? It’s easier to push my flaws away and not take ownership of them when I am looking everywhere else than at my heart. My habit of “confiding” is a thinly veiled excuse for spreading hurtful gossip. Just because it isn’t as looked-down upon as some other sins does not excuse me in any way.
Jesus has some straight-to-the-point and sobering words that I need to let soak into my soul: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2). The truth of the matter is, I need Jesus just as much as everyone around me. My sins nailed Jesus to the cross too. It’s not easy to look at myself and to fully claim that I cast judgment on others when I have no right to. But maybe, admitting that I have the problem is the first step in clearing my own eye of its beam. I pray God will help me to permanently turn my eyes from watching everyone else to His perfect example.