Somewhere in my possessions I know I have a 25′ tape measure. I come across it on occasion when I’m looking for something else but I usually can’t find it when I need it. If I’m trying to measure the size of something in my bedroom I often resort to using a sheet of paper since I know it is 8 1/2 X 11 inches. That works less well if what I need to know about is very small or very large and is only exact if the space I need is exactly consonant with the size of the paper so I don’t have to rely on holding my finger in the exact position of the edge as I move the paper with my other hand. It would be so much easier if I could find my measuring tape.
In today’s gospel Jesus is challenging our tendency to judge people and the indication is that we should stop doing it in any case, mostly because we tend to do it haphazardly or without any sort of evidence to back us up. (MT 7:1-5) He’s basically telling us to look in the mirror of truth to see our imperfections (the wooden beam in our own eye) before we go about pointing out those (splinters) of each other.
Our culture has taught us to be hyper-critical, I think, and some of us – myself included – have learned the lesson well. While it is true that we need to be discerning about our choices in our own lives, judging other people on surface evidence (or any evidence at all!) for any reason goes against everything we know of the teachings of Jesus. I’ll think of that today as I try to get a correct answer for whether or not a new computer stand will fit in the corner of my bedroom while I hear Jesus say: The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.