“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?”
This is a verse that most Christians, and even non-Christians, have heard before. The meaning is obvious: don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t point out someone else’s flaws when you yourself have much more glaring ones.
Imagine that a student failed a test, but then went over to another student, who aced the test missing only one question, and began criticizing him for missing it. It would be ridiculous. How likely is it that the student who made the A would even consider listening to the student who made the F? Not likely at all.
But as Christians, we act a lot like that F student sometimes. There are quite a few planks in our eyes, but there’s no lack of condemnation and judgment to be found on our lips. Often, nonbelievers are turned away because of the harsh judgment they perceive from Christians. Even worse, many Christians are often discouraged and pushed away because “religious” people berate them for their specks of sawdust.
The ironic thing about this whole metaphor is that often, the plank in our eye has totally destroyed our ability to see it. Usually, the plank is pride. Pride convinces us that we’re right, that we’re better, and that they deserve condemnation. Pride blinds us to our own faults and makes us hyper-aware of the faults of others. It was this sin that Jesus so often condemned in the Pharisees.
Who are you in this situation? Do you have a speck in your eye, or do you have a plank? Are you a good person with a few faults, or do you have major issues to work through?
If you answered that you’re the speck, there’s a good chance that you’re the plank. You see, all of us have sins and struggles that we have to work through. However, for those who can acknowledge the weight of their sin and their desperate need for a savior, Christ gives grace upon grace. For those who think their sin is minor and their need for help is minimal, this message is for you. We are all sinners. We all have a plank in our eye at one time or another. That’s ok. What isn’t ok is to live your life oblivious to it, thinking it doesn’t exist, never seeking help.
Ask God to humble you today. Ask God to show you your planks and your specks. Ask him for his mercy and grace to remove them and to help others to see and remove theirs in kindness and love as well.
Show me the planks in my eyes that I’ve been to proud to see. Help me never to think more highly of myself than I should. Humble me, God. Never let me consider myself better than anyone else, or my sin “less bad” than anyone else’s. Forgive me for my pride and restore me to you.
In Jesus’ Name,