By Allen White
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? 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
Jesus is a funny guy. Think about what He says here. Whether the plank is from a hardwood floor or a pirate ship, it’s funny. The situation is ridiculous. It’s hysterical. And, the behavior Jesus is addressing is also ridiculous.
This is not a situation where someone is seeking help. The plank-bearer is pointing out the faults of others. This is like a bag lady giving fashion advice or fat guy lecturing on healthy living. It’s just as ridiculous as a sinful, fallen, flawed human being pointing out the faults of another sinful, fallen, flawed human being.
Jesus says that before we worry about the miniscule faults of another, we need to focus on a plankectomy of our own. If we truly want to help others, we need to grow ourselves. Otherwise, our advice will be insulting, and our motives will be questioned.
Focusing on another’s faults is far easier than focusing on our own. It’s not personal. It’s distracting. It might even give a sense of superiority or even justification for our flaws. “I may have this plank, but he thinks he’s perfect and look at the speck in his eye. He’s not perfect. I think he needs to be taken down a notch.”
I’ve found over the years that the things that a person is the most critical of is usually something that person struggles with. If he can’t stand that behavior in others, it stems from something he can’t stand about himself. Listen to what people say repeatedly, and you will discover their struggles. But, this is his speck. Your concern should be over your own plank.
Where do you need to grow in your life? What character quality do you need to develop? What harmful habit do you need to forsake? Maybe it’s time for an annual evaluation: What’s working in your life? What’s not working? What’s next? Try to avoid looking at other’s specks. “What’s not working is that guy is always giving me trouble.” That guy might be part of the “what’s next.” It’s certainly part of your character development.
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