Being guilty of sin doesn’t mean it’s wrong to say another person’s sin is wrong. After all, if we say we have no sin the truth isn’t where we live spiritually (1 John 1:8). But this isn’t to say there’s not a present problem if we think we can correct the “smaller” sin (unintentional and intentional mistakes alike) of others while actually living (habitually committing) in a “larger” sin ourself without it being a major issue.
Removing the speck while having a beam in our eye (Matthew 7:1-5) has to do with requiring more of ourselves than we do of others instead of the vice-versa!
Removing our own speck before dealing with another’s beam has to do with understanding the seriousness of the lesson ourself before we try to teach someone else. It has to do with seeing ourself before attempting to help others see.
Take, as a rough illustration, the following example from an actual online spelling test given to a sister-in-Christ’s young child:
4) I rode my ______ to the park.
5) Could you bring in the _______ from the car?
6) The Jenny said we have three _______.
Are you noticing a trend? How can a spelling test for a second-grade child (however automated the test may or may not be) be taken as a serious teaching avenue if it doesn’t seem as if the task of spelling isn’t very important to begin with? How can you teach someone about the importance of spelling words correctly when the given options are incorrect themselves?
Situations like this played out in real spiritual-life is what leads to the guilt of acting … a.k.a hypocrisy! It’s the guilt of pretending to be smarter than the way we’re living, and it can lead to others endorsing error through our own behavior (Galatians 2:11-14).
We don’t accomplish any good, spiritually speaking, by pull someone out of their frying pan into our fire! And it doesn’t help us or others by pretending that we can teach someone about the larger and more complicated matters of Christian living (the meat of the word) while still choking on the simple matters (the milk of the word) that should be easy to see (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).
We may not always “dot our i’s and cross our t’s” perfectly on the “spelling tests of life” (hence the need for God’s grace) but before we put others to the test we need to make sure we are not flunking the class before we try grading another’s paper.
“Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you–unless, indeed, you fail the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NET)