The Individual II

Matthew 7:4-5

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.

Many who read these verses would say that Christ is telling us to not judge others and their actions.  I agree.   But I had a different train of thought when reading these verses today, and it’s the same thought I’ve had throughout the New Testament and the Bible.  It’s the teaching and emphasis of the individual and the individual’s self responsibility.

Christ is saying you are an individual and you are responsible for your own actions.  You are in control of all that you do and say, and you have no business in trying to control and manipulate others.  You seek righteousness, discipline yourself to walk with God in your heart, and follow the commandments.  It’s very simple, and Christ tells us this in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Both of the commandments that Christ talks about have nothing to do with anyone other than the individual who is responsible for themselves.  Both commandments start with Christ saying, “you”.  You the individual, not the congregation, not the minister, not the parents, not the siblings, not the friends or neighbors, not the leaders and not the politicians, but YOU, the one and only, are responsible for carrying out these two basic commandments that are the cornerstone of a righteous life.

You do not wait for someone to tell you to go along with them, and you do not decide to follow them based on what others are telling you to think.

YOU shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

YOU shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Christ is telling us that each of us is responsible for seeking and living a righteous life no matter what the circumstances may be.

In Matthew 22, verse 40, Christ tells us that this is what all the other commandments are about, being the responsible individual.  You must realize your life is based on your decisions and actions, not the decisions and actions of others.  Your life and righteousness has nothing to do with the spec of dirt in your brother’s eye.  The responsible individual is the basis of life and this is what the prophets have been sent to help us realize.

It’s a very a simple message and a very hard message.  It’s very easy to point out the flaws of others.  A fault in others is a very easy thing to find.  A fault in yourself is a very hard fact to face.

In Matthew 7:13 Christ tells us how hard it is to accept self responsibility, yet this is the path that will lead you through the narrow gate, the gate for each individual.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

The wide gate, that’s the gate that allows the group that runs around blaming everyone else for their problems.  It allows the mob to walk right off the cliff of victimhood, identity politics and irresponsibility.

There is strength in numbers but nothing is stronger than the righteous individual.

So in Matthew 7:4-5, Christ is telling us not to judge others but to be the responsible, righteous individual, not part of the mob, quick to judgment and quick to persecution.  Self responsibility is very hard and the gate is narrow, but the individual is supreme.

I’m sure I will continue to write more about the individual as I proceed through the New Testament, as it is strengthening my heart to this belief.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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