Help Yourself First

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Mt 7:1-5

Such a powerful message this morning. I find myself reflecting on today’s reading in a manner that is a little different then I would have before. I don’t know if it is because I am a different person today than when I reflected on this before, or if it is the Holy Spirit tugging me in a certain direction, but whatever it is, I am not seeing this passage the same way for some reason today.

When you are flying out of an airport, they are required to go over the safety rules and equipment that is in the bird you are sandwiched in. For anyone who has flown more than once in your lifetime, you almost can do the routine yourself, and God Bless the flight attendants, they are so in love with it, they could probably do it in their sleep. If your eyes are not glazed over and you have your headset actually out of your ears, you will come to a portion in that speech were they show you how to put on your breathing apparatus if the plane looses cabin pressure. They always tell you to put yours on first, before helping others. The reason being, you are of no use to anyone incapacitated or starting to asphyxiate, so, make sure you are covered first.

Amazingly enough, Jesus was saying the same thing here. You can not tell someone to give up all of their possessions for a cause if you, too, have no done the same.  You can not chastise someone for not going to Church, unless you have had perfect attendance for the past year. I don’t know of anyone with a perfect attendance record, including myself. Yes, the person behind this blog has missed some Sunday’s this year, for reasons that I probably could have made it if I tried, just didn’t. Suffice to say, I have not condoned anyone’s lack of Church attendance at all. Again, it is pretty clear, you can not help others or chastise a way of life, if you have not taken a hard look at yourself first. We all have issues and trials we are facing, it is meant to make us stronger. Those trials are meant to help us empathize with others in similar situations. They are not meant to be used as passive judgment into other’s lives.

It is so easy for us to be observers. To sit on a bench and watch people go by, think about how we would have handled a situation differently, etc. That place is easy. The hardest thing to actually do is look inward, and address those inner portions of us, acknowledge that others have problems that we probably will never come to understand, and leave it at that.  Remembering that we are there to support, build up, and lend a hand to our fellow brothers and sisters, rather than bringing upon downtrodden thoughts, passing blame, and shunning them for their own trials and choices in life, that is something we have to remind ourselves on a constant and consistent basis.

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