Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Judging, Examining, and Specktating

“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘LET me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 (HCSB)
I have previously preached on this passage (see here).  I recently was reflecting on this passage and I had another insight into what Jesus was teaching.

Why do you look at the speck...

Most of us stop here in asking the question.  It is a challenging question that leads one to presume that noticing specks in others eyes is evil.  Yet I know from personal experience and from what others have shared with me is that speck inspecting is seemingly impossible to avoid.  Consider this: if a person is writhing around out of discomfort of having something in their eye is it possible to deny or for that matter ignore them? 
I am a complainer.  Yes it is true.  Even if you do not hear me complain then you can rest assured that I am complaining in the inside.  I think most of us are really complainers.  When I have something in my eye I can be quite dramatic in sharing that my eye ball is really irritating me.  Often when I complain I am not looking for help, but rather someone to agree with me or commiserate with me. 
If someone came along and said let me help you with that speck in your eye that you have been complain about, and they had a big log sticking out of his eye I would quickly say "I don't need your help you seem worse off than me."  I would be thinking "umm I not sure but this guy seriously thinks he can help me out while have this shocking protrusion come from his eye."

...don't you notice the log in your own eye.

I developed a study once that used the acronym "GOT Salt & PEPpER."  Which stood for GO Therefore (aka Matthew 28:19) be salt (aka Matthew 5:13) and practice Plank Eye Principle in Every Relationship. What is the plank eye principle?  Well clearly you have to first realize that you have something in your eye.  You also have to be motivated to help others.  I find that when these two exist with each other then the underlying motive is on the right track.  On the other hand if you are not aware that you have something in your eye then you are more likely to push people away or do harm in your attempt to be helpful.  Also if you do not have the other person's well being at heart then you are likely to have selfish motives.  Selfish motives lead to selfish ends and are the root of many conflicts.
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? James 4:1 (HCSB)
Once you are aware of the log in your eye and you are motivated to help others Jesus offers a three step process to "not judge do you will not be judged."  The danger at this point would be to miss the profound simplicity of this approach.  Step one remove the log from your own eye.  Step two with an unobstructed view look into you brother's eye.  Step three remove the speck from your brother's eye. 
Failure to follow these steps leads to all manner of problems.  For example if you don't remove the log you are a hypocrite and often are blind to your blindness.  I would not want to be operated on by a blind surgeon in the same way a person that is emotionally and spirituality blind ought not do the very delicate procedure of removing specks from other's lives.  Another problem is that to correct a problem you have to first see it clearly.  How often I have missed the mark when I have misunderstood the nature of the problem.  Yet another problem arises when once we remove the log we begin to beat those with specks with the very log we just removed over their heads.  Beating someone over the head with a log is not going to help them remove speck and is more likely that you would give them a headache.

To me the choice is clear.  Do I want a self-examined life that can be used of God to help others; or do I want a self-centered life that give others headaches? 

Lord I do not want to be a headache to others so please give me the courage to take an honest assessment of myself.  Help me to clear the log jams in my life.  Give me a heart to help others in need. In Jesus Name Amen