“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? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5
Polarizing events give us ample opportunity for feeding the beast of superiority that lurks within all of our hearts. If you’re like me and are paying attention to what other pastors are doing or not doing during the COVID-19 crisis, you’ve probably felt the beast rising up and had some efforts go better than others at containing it.
What’s Going On?
Rampant right now is the self righteousness of COVID-19 awareness, plans, expert opinions, what churches and pastors should really be doing, or what they should never even think about doing. It often comes into the purview of ministry leaders through other ministry leaders who have seized the day and are posturing to influence and condemn faithful brothers for their specific responses to this virus.
If you are on the self-righteousness spectrum, and we all are, you’re probably with great trepidation thinking, “This article might be meant for me.” And you’d be right. But hear this as an encouragement to spend some time in self-reflection.
To the Self-Righteous Church COVID-19 Expert
This admonishment has never gone well in a meeting before but maybe this medium will be different (you can add delusional to my list of faults), but you probably need to check your heart.
Is love for your brother out of the abundant grace and love we have received from Christ motivating you to come alongside, serve, support, engage with and help him process through this extremely difficult time that is impacting so many churches in so many different ways?
Or is there something else? A desire to be seen, heard, liked, listened to, agreed with, or opportunity-seeking, driving your presence online, through email, and in person (socially distanced of course)?
A Better Way
And there’s always a better way. Christ rebukes and invites us to first remove the log from our own eye before worrying about the speck in our brother’s. But here’s the even better news: Christ helps us remove the log from our own eye to help us care for the speck in our brother’s eye. He sent his Spirit — the Spirit that illuminates the Word of God and brings conviction of sin – but also guides us down the path of Christ’s righteousness.
If you desire this better way, spend some time in prayer, reading Scripture, and meditating on the state of your own heart. Ask the Lord for wisdom – he’s always willing to give us wisdom as we humbly seek to follow him and to show his grace to those around us.
And who knows? As you do this you may very well have more pastors and ministry leaders willing (and wanting) to hear what you have to share with them about how they can best respond to the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. I pray this is the case.