By Joe Slater
Jesus never approved of sin, but He directed His most severe criticism toward people with double standards. His withering denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees stemmed from their shameless, two-faced behavior. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13). Those experts in the Law were quite accomplished at telling others what to do; their own behavior, however, wouldn’t pass the smell test.
King David understood that God’s Law applied to him just as it did to his subjects. David was far from flawless (witness that awful episode of adultery with Bathsheba and murder to try to cover it up). To rebuke him for those sins, Nathan told David a parable about a greedy rich man who stole a pet lamb from his poor neighbor. The rich man slaughtered that lamb to feed a guest.
Nathan’s story gave David just enough rope to hang himself! The indignant king pledged to execute the rich man for being so heartless and cruel (2 Samuel 12:3). Then came Nathan’s immortal words: “You are the man!” (v. 7). To his credit, David owned up to his sin and repented, rather than acting like God’s commands against adultery and murder applied to others, but not to himself.
Why is it so easy for me to see your faults, but to ignore the same (or worse) shortcomings in myself? Jesus warned of this danger: “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). While many abuse this text as though it forbids all judging, context shows the Lord was dealing with unrighteous, hypocritical judgment. Until I get the plank out of my own eye, what business do I have criticizing you for the speck of sawdust in your eye? (vv. 3-5).
Brother Roy Lanier, Sr., used to tell us preacher boys: “What’s sauce for the goose ought to be at least salad dressing for the gander.” God shows no partiality; neither should we. God’s word applies to me just as it does to you.