“The Only True Standard Of Character”

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye? Matthew 7:3.

Even the sentence, “Thou that judgest does the same things,” does not reach the magnitude of his sin who presumes to criticize and condemn his brother. Jesus said, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

His words describe one who is swift to discern a defect in others. When he thinks he has detected a flaw in the character of the life he is exceedingly zealous in trying to point it out; but Jesus declares that the very trait of character developed in doing this un-Christlike work is, in comparison with the fault criticized, as a beam in proportion to a mote. It is one’s own lack of the spirit of forbearance and love that leads him to make a world of an atom. Those who have never experienced the contrition of an entire surrender to Christ do not in their life make manifest the softening influence of the Saviour’s love. They misrepresent the gentle, courteous spirit of the gospel and wound precious souls, for whom Christ died….

Christ is the only true standard of character, and he who sets himself up as a standard for others is putting himself in the place of Christ. And since the Father “hath committed all judgment unto the Son” whoever presumes to judge the motives of others is again usurping the prerogative of the Son of God. These would-be judges and critics are placing themselves on the side of antichrist, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

The sin that leads to the most unhappy results is the cold, critical, unforgiving spirit that characterizes Pharisaism. When the religious experience is devoid of love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is not there…. There may be a wonderful keenness of perception to discover the defects of others; but to everyone who indulges this spirit, Jesus says, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 125, 126).

Not until you feel that you could sacrifice your own self-dignity, and even lay down your life in order to save an erring brother, have you cast the beam out of your own eye so that you are prepared to help your brother. Then you can approach him and touch his heart…. A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins. The revelation of Christ in your own character will have a transforming power upon all with whom you come in contact. Let Christ be daily made manifest in you, and He will reveal through you the creative energy of His word—a gentle, persuasive, yet mighty influence to re-create other souls in the beauty of the Lord our God (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 128, 129).

From “Lift Him Up”, by Ellen White, pg. 335

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