Tuesday Re-mix –
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 7:4-5
How are you at removing splinters from children’s fingers? Yeh, me neither. It is quite an ordeal, even under the best of circumstances. It takes a steady hand, a soothing voice, and really good eyes. As I write this, I am just now realizing how cool it is that so many of us did not need reading glasses until after our kids were old enough to get their own splinters out. Isn’t God smart? I can still remember feeling all medically superior one day when one of my girls came to me with a splinter in her finger. I brought her into the bathroom (where the light was the brightest), got some tweezers, picked up her hand and examined the finger closely. “Wow, this must be a tiny one” I told her, “I can’t even see it! Where is it?” And she answered, “It’s right here”, as she held up her free hand!
Being able to clearly see the splinter, it seems, is pretty critical to the entire process of removing it. And so it is with helping a brother with the “Speck” in his eye. Notice: Jesus’ aim in this lesson is for us to “see clearly”…that is the goal, so that we can help our brother. When you cannot see clearly, you simply are not capable of being any help.
It appears to me that commentators are all over the board regarding what, exactly, the “log in your eye” symbolizes in Jesus’ metaphor. It could be similar sin in your own life. It could be a judgmental attitude. It could even be a past unresolved pain that somehow prevents you from “seeing clearly” where this brother is concerned. I am not sure it matters to me which of these things it is…the bottom line is, if it is preventing me from seeing my brother clearly, i.e., from seeing my brother the same way God sees my brother, then I must get about removing it! After all, seeing my brother the way God sees my brother is the only way I can be of any assistance to him.
So how do we remove it?
I suppose that depends on what it is, right? If it is sin, we remove it through confession and repentance. If it is a judgmental attitude, we pray for God to replace that attitude with one which honors Him. If it is unresolved pain, we must express that pain in a right direction…to God first, and then perhaps to the person who caused the pain. But do you see the common ingredient to each of these “removal plans”? It is prayer. After all, how else do we gain God’s perspective on anything but through prayer.
In the end, I am so glad Jesus did not leave his counsel at, “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?” He goes further. He insists that removing the log from our eye is a priority. It should be done now.
Tall order? Yep. For me too. Gotta go. Got some logs to deal with!