February 27th, 2013: The Thirteenth Day of Lent
February 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”
This bit of hyperbole that Christ uses as an illustration produces a ridiculous and even humorous mental picture. Can you imagine someone who has a log firmly wedged in his eye socket trying to do the delicate work of removing a speck of sawdust from the eye of someone else? As soon as we visualize it, we see immediately how ludicrous the situation is.
Yet, Christ says, this takes place every time we judge another with condemnation. We get so hung up on the “specks” of other people: annoying habits, poor decisions, etc. Our self cries out, “But these aren’t specks! These are splinters, branches, trees, forests! These people are wrong and need to be corrected!” Well, that may be so.
But for every speck we notice, we have a log of our own. If we point a finger, three fingers point back at us. How can we possibly see clearly? We don’t. Christ makes our own faults and sins our number one priority. Can we call others to repentance when we don’t acknowledge our own sin? No, we can’t.
This section of teaching does not give us a free pass to become self-absorbed to the point of ignoring all things around us. It does, however, call us to be aware of ourselves and our defects as well as those of others. We need to hold others accountable and challenge each other in our journey of faith, but before we do those things, we must own up to the fact that we need to be challenged and held accountable too – in the worst way. This goes back to the first Beatitude in Matthew 5.3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In other words, blessed are those who know of the logs in their eyes – for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
Lord Christ, I confess that I have judged and condemned others without even realizing my own great sins. Please show me my own faults and convict me of my unrighteousness. Remind me, before I judge others, how worthy of condemnation I am myself. Amen.