We are nearing the end of what is sometimes known as the “sermon on the plain,” where Luke pictures Jesus coming down from the mountain to sit among his people and to teach them. He uses this scenario to include a number of Jesus’ sayings, which between them constitute the way to live a life in friendship with God. The picture of the splinter and the log are very colourful images. Today we seem to have developed a culture - particularly in the media - of individual commentators writing columns of sometimes quite vitriolic criticism of people and institutions. Of course much of it is valid and in these days when democracy is threatened we can be very thankful to have a free press.
It is very easy, however, to sit in judgement. Very often when we come to look at ourselves, we may find the very same faults there that we castigate in others. Taken to extremes, the log in our eye can produce horrors like the holocaust, or like McCarthyism in America where individuals were persecuted mercilessly for suspected communist sympathies.
Jesus always treated peoples’ failings with great compassion and helped them to feel good about themselves so that they could become better. He was only hard on those who thought themselves above reproach.