Speck in My Eye
June 1, 2010
Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"
It is very easy to diagnose other people's problems and it's just as easy to tell them how to change. It is interesting, though, that seldom do others ask you to point out their faults or offer your astounding insight into how they might change. People like to think that their own body odor doesn't stink and its hard not to point it out. If you think "other people" is actually someone else, you are mistaken. I am "other people" and so are you. Your body odor stinks, and so does mine. We are ALL human and others want to change your faults just as much as you want to change theirs. The only thing is, we can't seem to diagnose our own faults, just everyone else's.
Jesus was very clear about pointing out other people's faults. He calls us all hypocrites if we choose to try it. He was extremely harsh and used a hyperbole to get his point across. He compared other people's faults to sawdust and our own faults to a wooden plank or board (more literally translated a beam that supports a house). While the hyperbole is not actually true, other people's faults only being as small as sawdust, Jesus wanted us to get His point. Funny, though, many of us can quote this scripture, but few of us actually understand it fully. Jesus explained what He meant after He used such an exaggerated statement. He said, "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." There are two things that Christ wanted us to glean from His statement.
The first thing that Jesus wanted us grasp was an understanding of grace. If we instantly start out by correcting the faults in others, we are showing them very little grace. Sure, they may have faults that actually need changed, but is it really critical that you point it out? Jesus was downplaying the severity of other people's faults by calling them "sawdust." Oftentimes, sawdust can be left for the wind to take care of, requiring no real attention. You can actually overlook sawdust, maybe even ignore it. Scripture says that "Love covers over a multitude of sins." It suggests that if we love others (which we should love others MORE than we love ourselves), then their trivial little faults are not ours to deal with. If we love others, like we should, we should be able to overlook their faults and deal with more important matters. We should be extending them grace, and not make a big deal about their faults.
By extending grace to others and their apparent issues, we can pay more close attention to our own, which is far more critical. He said we should address our own problems first, because they are as enormous as a board stuck in a small eyeball. Jesus wasn't saying our faults are really that much bigger than other people's faults, He was saying that our faults should be more obvious to ourselves if we are truly living a Godly life. A Christian should be comparing himself to Christ only, first using the Bible as a guide. In this way, a Christian can be introspective with his own life, measuring it against what scripture says. If we are doing this, which we all should, then our own problems should be a little more obvious (as obvious as a board or plank). But the main point that Christ wanted us to grasp was the severity of where our faults could take us. If left unchecked, our faults, however tiny they might seem, could become severe someday. By severe, I mean small things in our lives can become huge stumbling blocks, placing our lives in jeopardy of Hell.
Jesus wants us to take care of our own problems first, because if we don't, they will become serious, as serious as a large piece of wood stuck in a small eyeball. More important than an eyeball, though, is our soul and the possibility of ending up in Hell. This is why Jesus' hyperbole was so harsh; He wants to save each and every one of us from the sinful life that could send us to Hell. While it is not easier to extend grace to others and work on our own faults, it is far more important. This is what Jesus wanted all of us to walk away with, the understanding that the only person who can ensure you don't go to Hell is you. You cannot fix another person or keep their life from entering Hell, but you sure can keep your life from going there. Start everyday with asking Jesus to illuminate your own faults and then asking for His help to fix them. If you do, it will start to make other people's own "sawdust" look a lot bigger to them. (By "other people," I mean you and me, again).
1. How many times a day are you tempted to point out other people's faults?
2. How many times a day do you ask the Lord to illuminate your own faults?
3. How can you make sure you address your own problems every day, to avoid jeopardy of Hell?
Add. Scriptures for Study: Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 17:9, Luke 6:42, Rom 14:13, Phil 2:3, 1 Peter 4:8
Monday, May 31, 2010
Speck in My Eye