"Johnny, where's your homework?" asked the teacher, more in hope than expectation.
"Sorry," said Johnny, "I couldn't do it, there was too much noise at home."
"Noise? All evening? What kind of noise?" asked the teacher.
"It was the television, ma'am, it was just too loud. I couldn't do my homework."
"Now Johnny," said the teacher patiently, "you could have asked them to turn the sound down, surely?"
"No, I couldn't. There was no one else in the room!"
We are sometimes quick to place the blame on others, to talk about what "they" didn't do. "I think the church should spend more time visiting the sick!" "I think the church should do more evangelizing!" "I think the church should do more to encourage our missionaries!"
There may well be some truth in those statements. But, often, we make such statements without asking the questions, "What am I doing?" or "What can I do?" The reason is obvious. Thinking about what we aren't doing makes us feel guilty, while thinking about what others aren't doing, doesn't bother the conscience much at all.
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)