“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5
Specks and Telephone Poles
While meditating on this passage in Matthew, I was reminded of a drawing I saw many years ago. There were two men in the cartoon. One man had a tiny speck of dust in his eye and the other man, with a very large telephone pole protruding from his eye, was trying to point out the speck. This illustration is a visual example of how Jesus often used humor to get His point across. Of course a man with a plank in his eye could not see well enough to point out a tiny speck in someone else’s eye. It’s laughable, but once the giggles are over there is much sober truth in His statement.
So often we see the sin in others and don’t recognize the same sin or greater sin in our own lives. Pride will hold us in this pattern if we do not recognize sin for what it is and repent. Gossip, criticism, and being judgmental of others are symptoms that a greater sin is at work in our own hearts and show us for the hypocrites we are.
A perfect example of this is found in 2 Samuel 12. King David had committed a great sin with Bathsheba, so Nathan the prophet came to confront David about it. Nathan told him a story about a rich man who took a poor man’s only beloved lamb to feed a guest. David became very angry with the rich man and proclaimed the rich man should die for what he had done. Pride had blinded David to the fact that Nathan was talking about David himself.
Recently I was guilty of being critical of someone. I didn’t approve of some of the choices he has been making in his life. It is not up to me to decide what he should or shouldn’t do in his life. I need to take care of my own heart and mind and pray for this man instead of judging him.
Recognizing our own sin is the first step to removing the plank from our own eyes. Repenting is the second step. Walking in Holy Spirit’s way and staying there is the final step to having clear vision. As we walk in the Spirit and see the small specks of sin in others, we would do best to pray for those people and earn the right to speak into their lives. Until then, keep quiet.
“Father, please help us to see our own sin, repent of it, and walk in Your ways today. Remind us to keep our mouths and pointing fingers to ourselves when we see the sins of others. Prompt us to lift people up to You in prayer and wait until we have earned the right to speak. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.”