Well – I have to admit when I first heard this I thought, “Oh, he’s quoting from the Billy Joel version of the Bible.” Back in the day, the famous album GLASS HOUSES was one of my favorites. It was the seventh studio album by Billy Joel, released on March 10, 1980.
Look, the bottom line is… Christians have to be very careful when quoting Scripture from God’s Holy Word. There is a passage in Revelation that says it all very clearly:
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. – Revelation 22:18-19
We need to take God’s Word very seriously and believe every bit of it. When we think we know what “The Good Book” says, we had better look it up to be sure the passage says what we think it says. This is an example of a failed attempt to quote Scripture that was not in the Bible, but is really an old saying – (and provided inspiration for Billy Joel in 1980 as well, apparently).
So who first used that proverb?
The proverb has been traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ (1385). George Herbert wrote in 1651: ‘Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.‘ This saying is first cited in the United States in ‘William & Mary College Quarterly’ (1710). Twenty-six later Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘Don’t throw stones at your neighbors’, if your own windows are glass.’ ‘To live in a glass house’ is used as a figure of speech referring to vulnerability.” From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
Now the log in my eye… I’ve always heard it referred to as a beam, but yes that passage explaining judging and fruit inspection (they are not the same thing) is in Matthew 7:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 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. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Of if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in the day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. – The Book of Matthew Chapter 7
Are we to judge if we are in sin ourselves? No. God alone is the JUDGE of all of us. Are we to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing and observe the fruit that other people bear? Yes! Yes we are! I’m thankful for the reminder that people in glass houses should not throw stones. Thank you for reminding me that my brother’s eye has a tiny speck in it and my eye has a huge log in it.
Although we are not to JUDGE anyone, this passage of Scripture warns us to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing and inspect fruit trees so we don’t get duped. God gives the gift of discernment to His children. If we are wise, we will use that precious gift. Just make sure that log or beam or whatever is out of your eye first. My Bible tells me that I am to be aware and alert to the wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come along and try to push me off the narrow path that I’m on. That is NOT judging! I will vote for a Christian Republican candidate in 2016. This is nuts. He can nearly break our Constitution with executive action and break all sorts of laws, but we’re not supposed to judge? 🙂
Billy Joel – ALBUM – GLASS HOUSES
Released March 1980 and will eventually be forgotten.
God’s Holy Word – THE HOLY BIBLE
Timeless and unchanging – will never be forgotten.
Any questions? ❤