3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
Everyone wants to change the world. But the truth is that no one needs change more than you. With this handicap if a person tries to change the other the result will be disastrous. Instead of transformation disintegration will occur. Only when a person is filled with light can he/she become a light to others. When you change the world starts changing. Self-knowledge is the transforming force.
Self-knowledge is the most difficult thing not because it is difficult but because there is a fright in knowing the truth about your-self. Because of this unconscious fear a person will consciously try to create all kinds of hindrances to this effect. When a person within him/herself it will become obvious that the image created of the self to the world is false. It will become evident that the whole life is a pseudo-existence. That there no love only a pretence of love. There was no happiness only pretence of happiness. It will become undeniable that the whole life was an act of deception. Because of the fear of exposure a person will do everything possible to avoid it and in the process create many images of the self. This guilt of creating false images prevents people from looking within.
People tried to be occupied twenty four hours of the day because it keeps them from avoiding confronting the self. A person may be constantly occupied with money so that the self may be buried underneath this occupation. But no matter how much money is earned there is still no satisfaction as the basic motivation is not to gain money but to remain occupied. A person may do the same thing over and over again because it is difficult to be at ease with the self. That is the reason the great masters said that is person is able to sit for a few hours without doing anything he/she will become enlightened.
Another fact is that it is difficult to maintain these fictions, so changes have to be made again and again to perpetuate this falsehood. Because of the fear to look within clouds are created so that everything looks misty and the self becomes blurred. Jesus is insisting, “Know thy self”.
There are two was of being good. The first is being good – which is very difficult. The second is to prove that the other is wrong and even if you are not good it give you a feeling of being good. It is this second method to which Jesus is referring here. A person need not be good just prove that the other is wrong and it gives a feeling of being good. There is no need to change the self just magnify the badness in others to look innocent. It can be observed that if something bad is said about a person it is accepted without any argument but to accept someone as good proof is required. Deep down everyone seeks to be good but it is difficult so the only alternative is to prove that someone else is worse in order to feel a little better.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
A person may be looking on others as darkness to get a feeling of being in the light. Jesus implies that this is the problem with those people who try to transform society. Everybody wants to change the other whether it is the priest, politician, social worker or a leader. The other is considered to be in darkness but the truth is that this is a projected darkness. Projecting this darkness on the other is the result of being in the dark. Hence such an approach is wrong and dangerous. The so called leaders are trying to destroy the darkness which is actually not there in others but which they (leaders) can see. They see hell in others because it is the only way they can feel heavenly.
Jesus in edifying his people to understand that self-realization is the way to change. A person can only change him/herself. The moment this happens the world starts to change. Realizing the inauthenticity of the images created the religious person begins to drop them. Self-knowledge is a transforming force; nothing else needs to be done. Jesus says, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. The beams in a person’s eye prevent clarity of vision of the self. Only when these beams are removed can the eyes penetrate into fact without any projection. Self-knowledge happens to a clear mind, a mind that is not filled with judgements of good and bad. Once this self-knowledge happens through a clear mind the light will flow from that person like from a lamp, or like fragrance from a flower. The lamp is lit which will light others and everyone is benefitted. Life becomes a blessing.