The Log in Your Eye
“41 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? 42 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.” Luke 6:41-42 ESV
Dear Church Family,
As you may remember from your history classes, many people came to the new world in search of religious liberty. Many of the Protestants from England—Puritans and Congregationalists who were looking for religious liberty from the Church of England—quickly established their own freedom in the area of New England…and began persecuting other groups like the Baptists.
I think Jesus’ teaching about failing to see the “log” in one’s own eye fits this situation perfectly. They criticized the Church of England for not letting them worship according to conscience, but then repeated the same crime against other groups. I don’t remember where I heard the line (maybe one of my professors), but it has stuck with me for decades: “The oppressed become the oppressors.” That pattern of oppressed people becoming oppressors is not limited to the Christians of the new world. I think it’s a pattern that can be seen repeated throughout history.
Another quick example along similar lines: As I was traveling around Turkey and Greece several years ago, our tour guide pointed out several inscriptions on buildings, etc. The specific inscriptions I have in mind were the names of public leaders. I said “were” because they had been chiseled out of the stone façade of buildings after a rival leader came to power. You see it a lot in ancient inscriptions. Once one person comes into power, he makes an effort to erase the memory of a previous rival by removing his name from all records, even off of stone buildings.
You may be asking yourself, “Where is pastor Kevin going with all this?” Well, it’s pretty simple. Recent events in the United States political realm have me wondering if this pattern is repeating itself now. I think we’re seeing a fundamental change in the direction of our country, and at least some voices suddenly don’t seem to value freedom of speech. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google, or new rules restricting certain words within Congressional debate, there’s a question being raised: once one group comes into power, will they use their power to try to suppress the voice of the opposition.
Make no mistake about it. This is not a Democratic or a Republican problem. It is a problem of human sin, and that crosses all lines of demarcation. I think you could find examples of this tactic throughout U. S. history. It is sin to use power to oppress anyone, even if you feel that person or group has oppressed you in the past. We must always be on guard to see that we have a clear vision of ourselves and are not blinded by the log of fear, anger, and the desire for revenge.