Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and yet fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own? How could you say to your friend, ‘Let me show you where you’re wrong,’ when you’re guilty of even more? You’re being hypercritical and a hypocrite! First acknowledge your own ‘blind spots’ and deal with them, and then you’ll be capable of dealing with the ‘blind spot’ of your friend.”- Matthew 7:3-5  (The Passion Translation)

As Jesus sat on the hillside and taught his followers, he pushed all of their internal behavior buttons labeled ‘good behavior.’ If we have an internal button with that label on it, that’s because we switch it ‘on’ whenever there is a requirement to behave well.  Let’s face it, we’ve all learned to do this, especially at church! We switch on the good behavior whenever we feel like we aren’t enough, or when we feel we need acceptance, or worse yet when we want to cover up our bad behavior that we don’t intend to stop. 

The reason we learn to “put on” good behavior is that we’ve received A LOT of good advice over the years on how to behave, especially at church. When we read Jesus’ words from the sermon on the hill about not judging until we get the “glaring flaws” out of our own life, we don’t think about it in terms of freedom. We think that once we get the “log” out of our own eye, we are then able to see clearly enough to criticize others more freely.

If we really embrace what Jesus is saying, and turn the critical eye onto our own life, we would see how greatly we are in need of grace and mercy. This is what Jesus wanted us to see.  Having received that for ourselves, Jesus is hoping we will hand out mercy and not more criticism. 

For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.”   – John 8:32  (The Passion Translation)

Jesus came to set us free.  We are equally free to make bad choices as well as good choices. A truly free community is a deeply non-judgmental community.  I don’t need to control your choice, therefore I don’t have any judgment for you either. 

Once we receive this great grace, the fruit of our repentance is demonstrated in how we offer this same grace to others. Healthy boundaries help us to choose well for ourselves and well as for others who are in our life. 

We can only cultivate a true culture of freedom in the soil of personal grace and mercy.  Freedom culture is planted in the rich soil of humility. Clear vision for another’s life can only come after we have been pierced through by the eye of God’s deep love within our own heart.  

Let us open our heart to the eyes of Him who loves us deeply. His love and mercy for us, will help us to know how to help and love others well.