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.
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Seeing our own blindness
Other people naturally see us better than we see ourselves, especially externally. But even internally, at times, when we do expect to know ourselves better, we fail to see certain things in us—until people point them out to us. Hypocrisy is the readiness to see what is wrong with others but the failure to acknowledge our own defects. We may detect what is wrong with us, but we do not want to face or accept it because it may lead us to painful change or swallowing of our pride.
The cure for hypocrisy and/or “blind spots” lies in a healthy regular examination of ourselves, in allowing others to give us feedback or mirror our defects to us, and in learning to be mindful of them. Light comes when we present ourselves as we truly are, when we come out of the darkness of our pretensions.
The Gospel illustrates how hypocrisy presents itself. The imagery and the theme revolve around “seeing and not seeing.” The hypocrite or pretentious person readily sees the speck, the tiny dirt, in the eye of another, while missing what Jesus calls the “log” on the person’s own eye. The small defect in others is noticed but not the barricading log in one’s own eye.
Examples abound from everyday life. We can easily criticize the lack of cleanliness in our neighbor’s yard but fail to see the garbage piling up behind our home, or perhaps the “moral garbage” that our family may be heaping up. We can show ourselves to be “crusaders of poverty” but cannot rid of our many possessions, or champions of social justice but do not give just compensation to our employees or domestic helpers.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.