The habit of comparing others’ actions, looks, or beliefs can easily cause our hearts to harden and affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wants us to look within before we look without.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Specks and Planks
Something small blew into my eye while I drove down the highway. I had to close the offended eye and drive one-eyed for a while. I found myself grumbling and making constant compensations to avoid running into things or misjudging curbs and other obstacles.
We may be able to live with a speck in our eye for a while. But when it becomes intolerable or causes injury, it will begin to feel like a plank and affect everything we do.
Such a comparison can be used in the spiritual sense. Jesus often used parables from the everyday world to teach a lesson, such as the speck or plank in one’s eye. He admonished His listeners to not 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)
Specks and planks in the eye differ from the spiritual specks and planks we may carry in our hearts without realizing their danger or injury. Do we criticize others for saying or doing things that offend us or that differ from our thinking? Do we complain about the way someone keeps house, raises their kids, or acts in church? Do we find it hard to offer approval and gratitude for the good someone’s done? Do we lash out like a wounded bear for no apparent reason?
We may have specks in our eyes—minor irritations that cause us to grumble. But when they grow to plank size, our vision can become clouded. Our mind can play tricks on us so we see nothing but planks in the eyes of others and not in our own. We would do well to ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal our faults, to humbly ask for their removal, and to turn away from them. Then He will replace them with His gracious attributes of love and mercy.
Tremendous freedom can come by replacing the planks in our eyes with God’s love. Our vision will clear so we can see everyone else in a different light—in the light of Christ’s love. God can bring His miracle of changed lives, both ours and those who offend us.
Lord, thank You for Your powerful Word that reveals our sins. Show us the planks in our spiritual eyes and give us the compulsion to ask for their removal, their replacement with Your love-light. In Jesus’ name, amen.