“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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“ Luke 6.41-42
Jesus’ parables take our imaginations to places never before encountered. His gross exaggeration of a plank of wood in someone’s eye is almost comical. I’d love to see a cartoon illustrating this parody.
Yet the truth of the statement is astounding. The comparison of how we ignore our own sins while pointing out the sins of others is dismal. How can we neglect the mess in our own houses while pointing fingers to the disarray in another’s dwelling? How can I accuse someone of a greater offense against God when I myself am sitting in my own muck and mire, weighted down by a wickedness of my own making?
The answer is — I can not. I can not relish in someone else’s misery of sin while ignoring my own pride, my own prejudice or my own ignorance. I must first deal, as Jesus tells us “with the plank in your own eye” before I can deal “with the speck in your brothers or sisters eye.” I must first get my own house in order, repent of sin, confess my iniquities, before I point out the failure in another. And then, only in love and by his grace.
On a different note, I cut wood this weekend. My son Brian rented a log splitter and together we filled up the back of two pick-up trucks with wood split from a twenty-ton machine. The work was arduous, taxing and frankly exhausting. But in truth, we weren’t even doing most of the work. From time to time I would make a few cuts with a chainsaw on a log and give it to Brian. He would then feed it into the machine which in turn would produce the final result of the log split into quarters. The machine, with it’s tonnage of power, did the work, while we merely prepped for the next cut.
In the same way, God always does the work of forgiveness. He does the work of redeeming, healing, changing and cleaning. My concern for others sins, or my own for that matter, can only be considered in light of his love, grace and mercy. God is the workhorse offering a clean slate to anyone who calls upon his name.
We all have sinned and we all need forgiveness (Romans 3.23). Why not call upon the name of the Lord this hour, seek his face, fall upon his grace? Know that the God who cares for you, who sent Jesus to die on your behalf, is with you right now. Find comfort in his arms and strength in his power to remove your blemishes and make you white as snow.
“O Lord Jesus, I love you. I praise you. You are so good to me and your grace extends into the heavens. Even when life is difficult, pandemics strike our world and sin abounds, you are present. You are here, you are near. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and might. Help me spread your message of hope to the world so that all might know the power of your love and grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen