Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Pastors hear all kinds of things from all kinds of people, and sadly sometimes we hear things we wish we could unhear, but such is the life of a Pastor. One of the things we hear a lot about are the troubles that some of our congregation have with other people in their lives and that’s alright, but, and yes there’s a “but” in there, sometimes we Pastors find ourselves biting our tongues so as not to make “trouble” where there is no trouble. This has recently happened to me as someone I know has approached me about a family issue they were dealing with and I sat there and listened quietly because I could tell this was a truly upsetting issue for this person. But I must admit, that while they were talking to me pieces of scripture kept popping up in my mind, the one that was most relative to the situation was the Scripture posted at the top of this thought, Matthew 7, specifically Matthew 7:3 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Along with other scriptures about forgiveness such as Matthew 6:14-15 which says 14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I understand that family issues can make people extremely hostile and unforgiving, I understand these issues can cause hateful things to come from someone’s mouth who under normal circumstances would not use such language, but what part of that situation gives you a pass on your Christianity, where in the Word of God are you told that forgiveness and compassion are not required when you are hurt by a family member, I don’t recall ever seeing a scripture like that. The problem we Pastors often have when we are being a sounding board for the grievances of others about someone else, is that we are expected to “Understand” and be “supportive” and we try to be, but our real job is to guide you in what God expects out of you given the situation that you have presented to us and THAT is often not taken very well. When you go to a Pastor with an issue you must be willing to have the light of truth aimed at you as well, like the saying goes “even pancakes have two sides” Pastors cannot be expected to help “gang up” on someone else in order to make you feel vindicated, Pastors are there to guide you in bringing this issue to a Godly end.
So when you go to your Pastor for help during a personal issue remember that he is supposed to be looking and judging this issue through the eyes of Christ, don’t be surprised if you are told that you bare some responsibility in the matter and even if you are not the cause of the issue how have you reacted to it. Are you withholding forgiveness, or are you guilty of the sin of pride, have you prayed Godly prayers about the situation or just prayers of vengeance, have you and are you returning evil for evil or have you loved your enemy?
Given the decline in church attendance these days some Pastors may hesitate to correct or at the least point out the errors of your way because they want to keep you in church, for those pastors all I can say is remember whom it is that you are supposed to represent, truth does hurt sometimes but it also sets people free.
I hope that this thought helps all of us to scrutinize the issues in our lives that can weigh on us and make sure that we are approaching it clear eyed and not blinded by a plank.