Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?…
This is kindred to judging, and so these are here closely associated. The Duty of reproving should be discharged with discretion.
I. THE REPROVING OF A BROTHER SHOULD BE CONSIDERATE.
1. Reproof is a precious and holy thing.
(1) So it is described (ver. 6). The snuffers in the sanctuary were of pure gold (see also Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 25:12).
(2) It is sanctioned by the holiest examples. Moses; the prophets; Christ.
(3) It serves holy uses.
(a) Saves souls from death (see James 5:19, 20).
(b) Frees our souls from the guilt of complicity (see Leviticus 19:17, margin).
(c) Leaves the sinner without excuse. So the fidelity of Noah condemned the antediluvians (Hebrews 11:7).
2. The office of reprover should not be lightly undertaken.
(1) We are naturally too prone to attempt to set others right. Envy and malice give us piercing vision to discern motes in their eves.
(2) Blindness to our own faults proves us disqualified to cure those of others. Reproof is too often an attempt to depreciate the reproved that the reprover may be better thought of.
(3) It is hypocrisy to pretend zeal for the amendment of others while we have none for our own. Since the prerogative to reprove is with the saint, hypocrites reprove to simulate the saint.
(4) To correct error in another requires moral principle as well as intellectual discernment. Sin destroys spiritual vision. In overlooking this parents err in correcting their children. The truly righteous are the most merciful.
(5) Our badness must not excuse us from reproving. Rendering us unfit to reprove, it does not release us from the obligation to become fit. "A man's offence can never become his defence."
II. THE INCORRIGIBLY WICKED ARE BEYOND REPROOF.
1. They are described as dogs and swine.
(1) Some, like the dog, are pronouncedly unclean. The dog does not part the hoof. He makes no profession of a clean walk. Neither does he chew the cud. lie does not ruminate upon spiritual things.
(2) Some profess to be better than they are., The hog parts the hoof. Here is the profession of a clean walk. But then he does not chew the cud. He is filthy in the thoughts and intents of the heart. Note:
(3) The hog is no less abominable than the dog. False-faced sinners are the more offensive.
2. Their dispositions are brutish.
(1) They would trample upon pearls. The ungodly see no more beauty in holiness than the hog sees in a gem.
(2) They would turn again and rend you. The more refined are your tastes and dispositions the more intensely will the wicked hate you, and the more viciously will they treat you.
3. Let tide incorrigible alone.
(1) "Give not that which is holy." The allusion is to the holy things of the sanctuary. These were things which had touched the altar and were of the nature of sacrifice.
(2) Such things were never intended for dogs. They were eaten by the priests and Levites. The gospel is the "children's bread." There is no gospel for the impenitent.
(3) Our respect for Christ should lead us to preach repentance first rather than faith to the wicked. Resentment against reproof is the sign of an unclean nature.
(4) We are not needlessly to hazard our lives in reproving the wicked. The hog will mistake the pearl of reproof for the stone of reproach (see Jeremiah 6:10; Luke 11:45). He will "turn again" in resentment. So Herod turned upon the Baptist.
(5) Our time may be better employed in preaching to those who will hear (see Acts 13:41).
1. There are degrees in sin - the mote as compared with the beam.
2. There are those who have the beam in the eye, but do not consider it. They justify their enormities by pleading that "others do worse."
3. He is no enemy to sin who does not hate it in himself.
4. Let reproof begin at home.
5. Let the severity of our reproving be restrained by consideration of our own frailty. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
WEB: Or how will you tell your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye?