Plank and speck

It’s hard to see yourself as others see you.

I tend to have a better view of my strengths and weaknesses than others do. And this blindness is widespread among Christians.

This tendency to excuse or overlook our weaknesses and magnify those of other people can be a serious problem in our churches.

I have seen these damaging effects a number of times in my years as a believer.

Jesus cautioned us to be careful about judging other people with these memorable words in Matthew 7:3-5:

“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.”

So, how am I to see the plank in my eye? Ask God.

In Psalm 139:24, David tells God: “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

To begin with, I have to be serious about having my shortcomings revealed. Asking God to show me is an indication that I am ready to change at his direction.

So, how does God point out to me the plank in my eye?

I see several ways. One obvious way is to listen to other people. People are not shy about telling you where you are going wrong.

I tend to react badly initially – and sometimes for a long time – to negative comments about my behaviour or what I am doing. But, over the years, I have changed. I believe God has helped me change.

Another way is meditating on scripture. How does my life line up with what Jesus did and said? Am I willing to follow him in the path he has laid out? In other words, am I willing to be led in “the way everlasting” as David said?

Still another way is listening to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can touch my heart when I say something damaging about someone. Do I have a critical spirit? Am I tearing someone down?

If I’m honest, I have to admit that Jesus is more concerned about me than my complaints about someone else.

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