Practicing What We Preach As the Best Witness
You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth. Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
Sure, Paul is writing this to a bunch of self-righteous Jewish people of his day. But what would happen if we read it from a church authority today? As true then as it is today, humility and truth wins over being right and hitting people over the head with it. Re-read it again and take the correction to heart.
The language is strong, but it’s true. Nobody is won over to the kind and tender mercy of Jesus by someone hitting them over the head with a plank from their eye.