Allergies, dust, and other specks of foreign matter can make our eyes burn or itch, even blur. When they do, we may resort to using eyewash or perhaps take a more drastic measure.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Specks and Planks
Something small blew in my eye while I drove down the highway. I had to close the offended eye and drive one-eyed for a while. That’s tricky business. I found myself making constant compensations so I wouldn’t run into things or misjudge curbs and other obstacles.
Difficult as it is, we can live with a speck in our eye. The trouble begins, however, when the speck becomes a plank. Imagine the pain of having a long, flat piece of wood in your eye. Ouch! Can you even think about anything else while hurting so badly?
Such a comparison may sound silly and unrealistic. But Jesus uses that exact comparison to tell us not to judge others. “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
When it comes to spiritual specks and planks, we may not be aware of what’s in the eyes of our own hearts. Do we criticize others for saying or doing things that offend us or that differ from our own thinking? Do we complain about the way someone keeps house or raises their kids or acts in church? Do we find it hard to show love and affection, to offer approval and gratitude for the good someone’s done? Do we lash out like a wounded bear for no apparent reason?
We all have specks in our eyes, minor irritations that cause us to grumble. But when they grow to be the size of a plank, our vision becomes clouded. Our mind plays tricks on us so we see nothing but planks in the eyes of others. That’s why it’s important to ask God to reveal, through His Word and Spirit, our own faults. We need to humbly ask for their removal, vow to turn away from them, and allow Him to replace them with His love and mercy.
There’s tremendous freedom in replacing the planks in our eyes with His love. Our vision clears so we can see everyone else in a different light, in the light of Christ’s own love. Then God can bring His miracle of changed lives—ours and those who offend us.
Lord, show us the planks in our spiritual eyes. Give us the compulsion to ask for their removal, their replacement, with Your love-light. In Jesus’ name, amen.