“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye. You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
Behind my African home was a magnificent mango tree that provided shade and delicious tree-ripened mangoes. During mango season, April to July, I ate mangoes every day and became a mango addict. Some days I lived only on mango milkshakes.
Nothing was so refreshing at the end of a hot, African day as a sweet, juicy mango. Nothing ever tasted as delicious as that thick, succulent nectar. But don’t run to the store and buy a mango because they are shipped when they are green. They taste either sour or bitter.
Everyone in the village had mango mania. No one ever had enough mangoes. Each adult ate mangoes as he hiked down the trail and carried a bag of the fruit to munch on all day long. The children carried basins of mangoes to sell at the market. Seeing one ripe mango hanging from my tree, they left their tubs in the middle of the trail, squealed, and hurled rocks to knock that fruit to the ground. Their obsession to get one more mango turned those sweet children into thieves.
Only devoted Christians asked permission to take the fruit from the tree, everyone else snatched the mangoes, day and night. They used long poles to get them or threw rocks in the tree to knock the fruit to the ground.
During that time, mothers brought their children to treat their stomach pain.
“How many mangoes did the child eat?” I asked.
“No one can count the number of mangoes a child can eat.”
I couldn’t blame them for stealing the mangoes from my tree. I understood the lust for mangoes because I was an addict, too, a victim of mango mania. Besides, I had money to buy the mangoes, and I did, as many as I could eat.
I’m guilty and confess. My desire for them was like a plank in my eye. I had no right to reproach them for taking all the mangoes when they only had a speck of sawdust in their eyes.
So take those planks out of your own eyes before you say anything about the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye. Get rid of your faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses before judging them in others.
By the way, I don’t think it’s possible to be addicted to a fruit. Besides, mango mania only lasted three months out the year.