October 31, 2005

Take care of your own speck

As I am reading through the book of Matthew again, I have been reminded of several important principles Jesus spoke of in his ministry that I feel are very applicable to the mission of this blog.

In Chapter 7, during his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke passionately about people being careful not to judge one another. Beginning in verse 3 (NIV), he said "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 wasn't being very subtle with this particular message, was he? It was about as subtle as getting hit with a 2 x 4 plank. It is very clear that He expects us to look inside ourselves first before we move forward with saving humanity.

Going around and telling others where they come up short is easy, isn't it? There are certainly no shortage of people willing to do so, that's for sure. Closely examining that face staring back at us in the mirror in the morning, now that's tough.

Jesus is the only person who has ever walked the earth with the moral authority to pass judgement on anyone. If someone in our lives is judging us because of our religious affiliation or sexual orientation, there's a good chance that they have their own issues to resolve with God.

My experience has taught me that the ones yelling the loudest about the spec they see in our eyes are often the people with the biggest planks in theirs.

1 comment:

  1. One of the most interesting experiences I had as a priest was being called to the office one day at the enormous shrine church where I was superior. A middle-aged man had asked to see a priest. At Mass that day he had heard this passage from the gospel and was suddenly struck that maybe all his life problems were because he couldn't see the plank in his eye or how to get rid of it. How was he supposed to begin to do that? We met regularly for many months, but he always came back to that image: What is the plank in my eye and how does it get plucked out? He had a lot of things to deal with in his marriage, his family and his business, but he was able to stay focused on what he needed to do about himself, with the grace of God. I still remember him as a model of taking the word of God seriously.