Take out the Log ...

As we continue to explore the qualities of good leadership this week, we are looking at the ability to balance the love of people with the hatred of evil.

Trying to balance these two often becomes a discussion of “tolerance” vs. “intolerance” of others and this is the wrong discussion; “tolerance” should only be applied towards people and “intolerance” only towards principles.

However, once the discussion is the right discussion – about loving others – the balance is made easier when we recognize others as fellow creations of God worthy of His love, the same way we are worthy.

But, good leaders also understand that loving others while hating their sin is about being self-reflective and recognizing that any misapplied hatred or intolerance – judgment – will be come back to haunt.

In Matthew 7:1-2, Christ warns us not to be judgmental of others unless we want the same, “ Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

These are heavy words to consider when we begin feeling angry or frustrated with the evildoing of others, especially when we feel we are justified in doing so.

In verses 3-5 Christ explains how we should rightly view other’s sins, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

In short, before you judge another for their sins make sure you have evaluated your own, heart, mind and actions. There is probably something there that everyone else can see to which you are blind.

More importantly, by taking the step of self-reflection you will be able to find compassion and empathy for others.

St. Thomas of Villanova once said, “Dismiss all anger and look into yourself a little. Remember that he of whom you are speaking is your brother, and, as he is in the way of salvation, God can make him a Saint, in spite of his present weakness.”

At St. Francis we teach our students to love others as God’s creation; and we teach them to consider their own faults and shortcomings before they judge those of others.

Why? Because, as St. Thomas recognized, God can make a Saint out of anyone.