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. Matthew 7:3-5
My grandson has a problem with one of his eyes. (Not to worry; I’m sure he’s OK.) It has been red and irritated for a few days. We think maybe he has something in it. He fusses with it from time to time while insisting it is fine, because he’s a 4-year old.
I’ve had spiritual specks in my eye before. Can you relate? When you have unaddressed pain in your life, it can effect your vision of the world around you. I have seen addiction and unrepentant sin do the same thing. Broken relationships in your past can make you see things in your current relationships that aren’t there. These kinds of problems can be persistent, hard to address, and major impactors of how we experience life every day.
These kinds of problems don’t just hurt. They also make it difficult to function in the world. They can certainly stand between us and some of the ministry God might have for us. Why doesn’t someone help us? Why does it so often feel that we are alone and vulnerable in these situations?
It almost certainly has something to do with the fact that those of us who have specks are supposed to be helping each other but have zero credibility due to our more glaring shortcomings. How am I supposed to accept your help dealing with my childhood traumas when you are clearly so angry with your father that you can’t even talk about it? You got yourself a plank in that eye, man. Conversely, how on earth could you trust me to help you with your own broken relationship experience when I clearly have had unaddressed issues in some of mine for over 50 years? There’s no shortage of planks in the Body of Christ.
Jesus is perfectly right. That plank puts you at risk of being a hypocrite if you try to help someone else with their speck. But certainly He never meant for you to just accept the plank and agree not to help anyone, lest you be hypocritical. The last sentence of our text for this week reads otherwise. Get the plank out! Its not just putting you at risk of hypocrisy. It is condemning everyone around you to suffering interminably from specks that could be so easily be removed.