Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Specks and Planks

Chuckle: “Most of us are umpires at heart; we like to call balls and strikes on somebody else.”
Quote: "When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide."Unknown source

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers 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?” (Matthew 7:3-4 NIV).
Our passage is taken from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” which includes chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the Gospel according to Matthew. Jesus understands our hypocritical nature when it comes to judging others, and gives some strong and pointed instructions on the subject. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to detect faults in our brothers and sisters and how difficult it is to see our own?” Jesus uses the metaphor, “speck,” to emphasize that a small flaw in our brother’s character is magnified and looms large in the eyes of a judgmental Christian. The larger sin, called a “plank,” represents our own sins which we tend to minimize in significance or ignore completely.
The traits we find most offensive in others are often the very ones we have ourselves. Criticizing others somehow makes us feel better about our own faults. Somehow, we feel vindicated because we see others as being as bad as we are. But Jesus wants us to deal with our own sins before we lovingly try help someone else with theirs. He puts it this way in verse 5: “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.” If you feel the need to criticize a brother or sister, first scrutinize your own behavior to see if you are deserving of the same criticism.
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean," she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap." Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor hung her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments. A month later, she was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her." The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."
In verse 1 (NLT), Jesus tells us to stop judging others and we will not be judged. Other translations say stop judging others or you will be judged. However, this does not mean we should overlook wrong behavior by others, but Jesus wants us to be discerning in love rather than harshly critical. We may need to let God clean our windows. .
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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