31 March 2011

The Problem with the Plank

“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.  - Jesus, Matthew 7.3-5

Jesus is brilliant. The picture is perfect, the irony is cutting. It's even funny. And it's very real. I remember getting sawdust in my eye when I was out in the shop with my dad. That minuscule little object would not be tolerated for an instant. It was too uncomfortable, it had no place in my eye and it drove me nuts. I couldn't do anything until I got rid of that speck. Too bad that same tenacity doesn't show up with my spiritual shortcomings.

But the problem with the planks of life is that they go unnoticed, uncontested, and unfixed.

The problem with the plank is that its in my eye. And because of pride it can stay there for a long time. I can spot the flaws in someone's worldview from a mile away. I have the eyes of a hawk for the sins of so many. But I can be blind when it comes to my own glaring deficiencies. In fact, I was about to launch into another critique of a friend until I remembered this passage. And the planks were finally in view.

I think you would agree that its easier to examine the speck instead of pull the plank. It is always easier to face another's sin instead of our own. Who wants to own up to that rampant selfishness that comes out with the kids? Or that obvious impatience that explodes in traffic. And what about the all important urge we have for life to be easy--and we don't always respond well when we don't get it.

I think we are going to study their specks over looking at our logs any day.

Unless you have Jesus. 

And then it can be a whole different story. With Jesus I have the confidence to face my flaws, the planks and the specks, based on the forgiveness purchased by His blood at the Cross and the powerful new life that comes from the resurrection.

And right now? It looks like I have some heavy lifting to do.


  1. I understand this all too well. This sentence jumped out at me, " I was about to launch into another critique of a friend until I remembered this passage. And the planks were finally in view." That is so me. Upon my death, someone needs to rescue my reputation by burning all of my journals so no one can read them. There is a lot of garbage in there that didn't come out of my mouth...those pages are like mirrors. I write and dislike the attitude that I see there and sometimes tear out the page and shred it. Other times, it stays as a reminder of what needs to be changed.

  2. Dad here, I guess I don't have an account to Identify me. Some may get to the point that in realizing the planks in their own eye, that they live in the "judge not" self induced humble state of existence. That may be one of the great problems we have created to hinder grow and maturity in us all. I am to WORK at removing the plank so that I may help the one who only has a speck. I need to get the dirt out of my eyes and keep my hands clean so when my son gets a spec in his eye and needs help I can help to provide it. It would also help someone with the spec to endure the discomfort till it is removed or give him the courage to maybe allow some short term pain that will help the spec to be removed or healed if he has been the witness of the planks removed from others.