Specks and Planks

(Originally posted 7 June 2020)

Good Sunday morning. After two rallies yesterday, I’m a little sunburned but otherwise it’s a good day. I’ve been thinking this morning about my message to you – there are literally hundreds of things to say, most of which would probably get me in trouble 🙂 So I think I’ll just do something simple.

A couple of days ago I posted the picture below and I said something about removing the plank “every day.” I want to talk now about what Jesus said BEFORE his comments shown below. He said in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Humans have long distorted this instruction, both believers and not. Those first three words are so well-known, and the rest of the passage has just faded away. I believe Jesus knew this would happen, so he told parable after parable, metaphor after metaphor, to get the point across. The Pharisees on the street corner, the good Samaritan, the plank and the speck…all of these tell the same story.

Judge others if you wish – but the judgment will come back to you.

Create “us” versus “them” – but be ready to be seen as the “them.”

Christ never said not to judge. He said if you do it, it will be done to you. If you identify the speck, be prepared for your plank to be identified.

The Pharisees weren’t prepared. They saw themselves as separate, religiously advanced from the “others”, more intelligent, more capable, God’s chosen…and they learned how foolish they were.

The Jews weren’t prepared. They saw the Samaritans as half-breeds, they called them “dogs”, and they shunned them. They saw the lame and the crippled as suffering justly for their sins. Christ showed them differently.

Whom did Jesus ask for water? A Samaritan. Whom did Jesus minister to and heal? The sick and the infirm. The Bible tells us a couple of times that the Pharisees were upset that Jesus forgave sin – but He was doing just that every time he healed someone. Almost everything He did and said, to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, was blasphemy. Not because it was…but because they wanted it to be. They NEEDED it to be. Because they were unwilling to look in the mirror and remove their own planks.

I have learned, through my marriage and through my job, that I must each day remove my planks…and I know I have them. I don’t like to look at them, and sometimes it takes me a while to realize I’ve found one, but they are there. But you can’t just do it once. You can’t take inventory today and then not look in the closet again for months.

Because, infuriatingly, they grow back. They never die. They are never defeated on this earth. The only reason I can claim victory over them in any way is because of Christ. Otherwise, they would devour me.

When you “judge” someone without the planks, you would be amazed how your vision changes. You would be astounded at how the “others” suddenly look kinda like you. You would see a beauty and wonder in others that before was simply obscured by prejudices, prejudices we ALL have, and that we must learn to control. But most importantly, when you remove the planks, you will see yourself differently.

Social media is a great platform for calling out people’s specks. My encouragement to you is that, before you post, before you judge, before you conclude…stop.

Use the mirror.

Find your planks…and remove them.

It’s not easy to do and it’s not fun. But you will be so happy that you did.

God bless. Happy Sunday.

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