Luke 6: Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
What sins are the really big ones? If someone were to say to you that they might not be perfect but they haven’t committed really big sins, we generally know what they would be talking about: murder, rape, grand theft etc. When talking about our sins we may speak of famous criminals and compare ourselves with them and say that at least we are not that bad. “I know I’m not perfect but I’m no Jack the Ripper.” The purpose of this, of course is to make ourselves look good. We do it to prove that we could be a lot worse.
There is another way to do this too and we do it all the time. We see some sin that someone else commits that we do not commit, even if it isn’t on our “big” list and make that the big issue. When we do that we define big sin thus: any sin that we do not commit. “I may cheat on my income tax but at least I’m not a gossip!!” And that word “gossip” is spit out from between our teeth as if there couldn’t possibly be anything worse. A big sin then becomes any sin that we do not commit. We set up a standard that makes us look good. We know what God really hates. He really hates that. And that will not be something that we are particularly bothered by.
It’s as if there is a list of sins that God doesn’t really concern Himself with and – surprise!! Those are all the ones that I do! This makes us feel better. It enables us to not work on the sins that so easily beset us. It helps us look down on others. This is what Jesus is addressing in Luke 6:41 when He says that we are prone to see a speck of dust in someone else’s eye while ignoring the log in our own.
The issue is not that our brother is not sinning. He may indeed be sinning. The issue isn’t even that the other person does not need to have his sin pointed out to him. He may be blind to it and needs help to see it, deal with it and be done with it. The problem is that we treat him as the big sinner while giving the impression that we are not bothered by anything so vile as what he is dealing with. The fact of the matter is that we need to pay as much attention to dealing with our own sin as we do digging up the sins of others.
We are commanded in the Scriptures to help each other overcome sin. When a brother is overtaken in a fault those who are spiritual are to restore him – in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1). If a brother will not truly repent we are to bring him up about it and even discipline him out of the church if he insists on continuing in his sin. But we are never to think that the reason a person sins is because his sins are big and ours are small. We are never to conclude that the discipline was due to the enormity of his sin.
There is only one sin that merits church discipline and that is the sin of refusing to repent. When we see other people’s sins as big and ours as small that is precisely what we are doing. We are testifying that there is no repentance necessary – because our sins are too small to need it.
This is serious business and we need to see ourselves in this teaching of Jesus. We have all done this. We all do it. And we are all mentioned here by Jesus. There is, of course, hope. The Holy Spirit has put this before us today so that we can start doing something about it. And He will help us. He has given us His indwelling presence, the Scriptures, the fellowship of others, the proper practice of the Lord’s Supper. All these things will help us gain the victory over even those sins that we have treated as insignificant. It’s a log, not a speck.