Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” is one of the most popular songs of all time. Why? Maybe because there is just something undeniably admirable about taking a look at yourself before you start to judge someone else. It is so much easier to point out what is wrong with the sins that we don’t struggle with, than to be honest about the one’s that we are personally guilty of.
By contrast, the beloved apostle Paul, who we often esteem as an incredible man of God, said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all (1 Timothy 1:15).”
Similarly, Christian author G.K. Chesterton, when asked by The Times magazine in 1910 to respond to the question “What’s wrong with the world today?” is famously said to have responded:
Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
The idea is not that we never speak up about what is wrong with the world, or that we automatically take personal blame for anything and everything that goes on. The idea is that, as Jesus Himself said: “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 7:5).”
You and I can start by taking this very message, and applying it to ourselves before we apply it to others. How ironic would it be to read Jesus’ words about examining ourselves first, and to turn around and say “yes, so and so really needs to examine themselves first,” when we have unaddressed sins of our own?
Let us be looking out for each other, but let us keep an eye on ourselves as well. Ever since Adam cast the blame for his sins onto “The woman whom You gave to be with me,” In Genesis 3, human nature has been to see the faults in everyone but ourselves. Neither you nor I are immune to that pitfall.