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, NIV)
Let’s slow down and look closely at these Bible verses. There are two powerful questions and a strong statement:
- • Question #1 Why do you see the little speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the big plank in your own eye?
- • Question #2 How can you say, “Let me take the speck out of your eye” when there’s a plank in your own eye?
- • Statement You need to take the plank out of your eye, so you can see well enough to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Is Jesus emphasizing the size of a log versus a speck? If so, how many specks of sawdust are in a log? His comparison is about both size and quantity. Try cutting down a tree sometime, even a small one. The chainsaw will throw out sawdust until the tree falls. You can pick up some sawdust and compare it with the tree that just fell!
Jesus is urging us to take responsibility for our weaknesses (a log’s worth of specks). The humility we’ll gain from doing that will make a big difference in the way we address the speck we see in someone else’s life.
What are you noticing in someone else that you want them to take responsibility for? Have you looked inside yourself? Do that prayerfully, and write down one or more “logs” in you. Then make a list of the “specks” you see in your friend. If you write more items or more severe items on the second list, stop and ask God to help you to see and own your own sins first.
Lord, help me to see and take the log out of my own eye before I try to take the speck out of my friend’s eye. I don’t want to be proud or condescending when I talk to my friend. . . Continue praying.