How does self-presentation and social perception relate to the passage from Matthew 7:3-5 of the King James Version of the Bible?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator


King James Version 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?

New King James Version 7:3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

[For purpose of discussion, the New King James Version will be discussed here]

There is many a "pillar of the church" who can put forth a facade to members of his religious and social community that is favorable when in reality he is not truly what he appears. For instance, some fundamentalist Christian religions do not hold with a person's imbibing or gambling. So, the person of this religion with the "plank in [his]own eye" may travel to another city or even another state where he has libation and/or where he goes to gambling casinos. But, on Sunday after he returns, he may feel justified when he finds "a speck in [his]brother's eye" at church of accusing this man of being false about something. Thus, as Jesus says in the Gospel according to St. Matthew 7:5-- 

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye--

this self-righteous hypocrite must correct his own thoughts and actions and truly earn the respectful perception that others have of him before he can criticize others, else he risks being false himself. For, the self-presentation and social presentation of the hypocrite are distorted; hence, the reference to the "plank" in his eye--his own self-blindness--when he presumes to judge another and try to "remove the speck," or fault, from the other man so that he can be a better Christian.