The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
The Pharisees (the keepers of the law) were trying to trap Jesus to see if He would obey the law and agree to the stoning of the woman caught in adultery: If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. (John 8:7) Jesus demonstrated a higher law of grace by pointing out that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. It is easy to see how the Pharisees were so caught up with the law that they did not apply grace, but as Christians, we also fall into the trap of being self-righteous and legalistic. Why is it so easy to point a finger at others while refusing to see our own wrongdoings? Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of this: Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3) The Pharisees were accusing the adulterous woman of her sin, but they refused to look at their own sin.
Jesus exhibited grace, undeserved by the prostitute, and He spoke truth to the Pharisees. They must have been cut to the quick when He showed them their guilty sinful hearts.
What about you? Do you quickly judge others of their sin and disregard the sin in your own life? Have you judged someone harshly, attempting to remove the “sawdust” out of their eye when a plank remains in your own eye? The Lord is full of grace and truth, and as we seek to be more like Him, we will relate to others through the lens of grace.
I have judged (fill in the blank) harshly. I have condemned this person and have refused to look at my own heart. Help me to walk in grace and truth, to speak the truth in love, and to walk in the power of Your mercy and grace.
In Jesus’ name, Amen