Criticism of others is an easy habit to fall into. Who has never seen a fault in another and then mentally, or even orally, ridiculed it to himself or to others? Yet ridiculing another's mental or moral shortcomings is really no different from ridiculing a physical cripple. Not only does it reveal a lack of compassion; it may well indicate a deep-seated hypocrisy that prevents one from seing his own unreformed traits.
Christ jesus made this clear when he said: "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? . . . Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." n1
n1 Matthew 7:3, 5
Jesus' metaphor is striking if you take it literally. Imagine a roomful of people with huge wooden beams protruding from their eyes! They'd be constantly injuring each other (and themselves) with every turn of the head. They'd be virtually blind. And they'd always be at beam's length from each other. It would be impossible for them to help one another.
The mental "beams" we all carry have essentially the same effects. Hatred, envy, pride, selfish human will -- all these ungodlike qualities cripple and blind us and injure others. Blinded by sin, we do not see man as God created him and as Christ Jesus revealed him -- God's express image. Instead, we see little more than our own sinful concept of man objectified. How foolish, then, to magnify and ridicule what we believe to be another's faults when in reality we are only magnifying the beam in our own eye!
Clearly, as Jesus said, we must remove the "beam" of sin from our own thought if we are not to stumble blindly through life, wounding ourselves and bludgeoning our poor brother and sister man. How do we free ourselves? To realize that, as Jesus put it, our own fault is always a beam when compared to our neighbor's, is a good beginning. Beam removal has to start with us, not the other person.
Fortunately, we have divine help in this. Christ, Truth, is the preeminent beam-remover. Only Truth can remove error, which is what a sinful sense of another is. And in Christ, the truth of being is that man is spiritual, sinless , utterly Godlike. The healing truth we can hold to in prayer is that man in God's image can have no physical, moral, or spiritual deformity.
"Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals," writes Mary Baker Eddy. n2 "In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m pp. 476-477.
And it still does, as thousands have proved. When we refuse to agree with the sinful depiction of man that the material senses report, and resolutely hold to the truth of being explained in the Christ Science, we are expressing a spiritual love beyond human comprehension.
To be sure, getting the "beam" out of our own eye isn't always easy. But if we are to grow to the point of spiritual maturity where we are able to help and heal others, we will work at it. And God will help us through His grace. Cultivating the spiritual view of man helps us express the love of Christ that we and our fellowman need so much. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Isaia h 1:16, 17