Quote: “Can you not see the plank in your own eye?”

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

– Matthew 7:3

This well known quote comes from the Bible. The context is

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at 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,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?

Meaning of quote

As humans we are opt to see the mistakes of others, but overlook our own mistakes. It is easier to criticise the failing of other people than it is to be aware of our own shortcomings.

In fact, if we concentrate on the weaknesses of other people, we can unconsciously invite these problems into our own nature.

Also, within the context of this parable, Jesus Christ is making us aware that those who are quick to judge – will be judged themselves. If we judge with a critical eye – that is how we will be judged ourself.

If someone does something wrong, it doesn’t mean we can never tell them. There are occasions, when we need to criticise the behaviour of other people. This teaching is aimed at those who spend their time judging and condemning others – but ignoring their own problems.


“The difficulty is that we try to perfect others before we perfect ourselves.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Lesson to learn

Firstly, we have to be aware of our own limitations, weakness and mistakes. Then we have to resolve to overcome them and be a better person. If we do the right thing, eventually we will inspired other people to do the right thing. However, if we spend our time only criticising other people, we will make no progress and will suffer from our own negative perceptions.

Similar teachings

“You see the faults of others, even though they are as small as a mustard seed. But you do not see your own, even though they can be seen as large as a bilva fruit. … O Duhshanta! ”

– Mahabharata, — [Shakuntala to King DuhshantaSambhava Parva, Adi Parva, Ch 69]

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”

― Benjamin Franklin


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