Motes and Beams

That Christ Jesus was a master in the use of metaphor and parable, the four Gospels bear ample witness. So skillfully did he drive home the priceless lessons of his teachings by the use of simile and other figures of speech, that even the dullest ears must have caught something of the tremendous significance of the Nazarene's message. The effect he sought was often obtained by the use of contrast, an excellent example of which is found in the Gospel of Matthew. In impressing upon his listeners the wrong incident to promiscuous judging of others, when one may be guilty of like or greater sins, he used this figure of speech with telling effect. "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" he inquired. Now the Greek word for beam, okós, signifies the stout timber which supports the roof of a building. It is large and often rough. With this is contrasted something very small, a mote, a tiny bit of stick, straw, or wool that might easily lodge in one's eye. How great the contrast! Seeing a very small error, a mote perhaps, manifested by another, while paying no heed to the beam, the big, outstanding error in one's own mentality—this was the state of thought which he denounced as hypocrisy. And, moreover, the casting of the beam out of one's own eye would clear his vision so that he could successfully aid his brother in ridding himself of some lesser form of evil. How impressive the lesson! And how important for mankind to learn!

Mortals are prone to judge, that is, to criticize others, even though they may at the moment be guilty of even greater sins. This the Master characterized as hypocrisy and severely condemned. Mrs. Eddy likewise emphatically condemns this type of error. First to clear one's own thought of evil, of beliefs in sin and sickness, before attempting to render like service for others is her wise admonition in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 455): "If you are yourself lost in the belief and fear of disease or sin, and if, knowing the remedy, you fail to use the energies of Mind in your own behalf, you can exercise little or no power for others' help." The purport of her words is unmistakable. The preparation precedent to the helping of others to know the nothingness of evil in all its various phases, sin, disease, even dissolution itself, we must make, each for himself. Without unseeing error for ourselves we cannot unsee it for others. If we accept it as real, as having entity and power, we forfeit the joyous privilege of aiding others to gain their freedom.

What, precisely, is then preparation, the casting out of the beam? It is the destruction of error in our own thought by the Christ, Truth—the gaining of the Mind of Christ. Error destroyed, cast out of thought, loses its identity as reality. The nothingness of its claims is manifest, and it ceases to be recognized even as a belief. When this is accomplished for ourselves, it constitutes preparation for helping another to unsee error in all its varied phases. How assured must we be, then, of what constitutes our preparation for such ministry.

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The Right to Freedom
December 28, 1929

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