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 6:42 (NIV)
How can we do it? Why do we always do it? Are we forever seeing the failures of others first? Do we just love to hide our own? Do we even try to hide them from ourselves? Or are we perfect?
Jesus cuts right through our hypocrisy. He eliminates any excuses we may try to sell ourselves. He opens our eyes to the fact that no matter how saintly we may like to be, there is still reason to examine ourselves. Does He make it painfully clear that we could all use His help? If we cannot be perfect, is it a good thing that He is here to guide us through?
Does it seem that we are constantly running up against our need to behave in a decent manner? Do we find that the nature we were born with has its flaws? Is it apparent that our tendencies have fallen from the ideal? Do we seem to turn to constantly putting ourselves first? Do we always try to lift ourselves higher in our own eyes and hearts? Is there a selfish love growing inside each of us? If we do not find a way to control it, does this self-oriented monster turn to all kinds of devious tricks? Does it assert itself without care for those around? Is it incapable of seeing to the needs of others first? Does it fight, deceive, and potentially harm those around us? Must we begin learning to control ourselves from an early age? Are the prisons full of men and women who were not able to learn their lesson well enough? We may not be THAT BAD, but do we all need to be careful and pray for help at times?
What about the Christian? Is that person out of hot water? Have they already corrected their nature? Or will they too need to work along with a helpful Spirit to overcome the tendencies of our nature? Would the Pope be so saintly that He is above all transgression? Or would He too need to open his heart before the Lord and examine each of His private desires?
If none of us are perfect, than what can be done? If we understand that it is better to be people full of love and compassion, how can we train our hearts to always act in that way? If it is an impossible feat for us humans, than who can help us? Would Jesus be our answer? Is He the best friend we could have? Is this what He is offering us? He claims to be our Savior. Does that mean that He did one act a long time ago? Or does it mean that He is here now? Does it mean that He is closer to us than we realize? Would becoming aware of His Presence bring us hope in the face of the giant task before us? Could we find help to overcome even ourselves?
Dear Jesus, You told us not to judge those around us. We realize that becoming perfect is not an easy or light task. But we would like to be good people who care about those around us. We would like to have the kind of love You have. Can You help us? Could we edge in a little closer to You today? Please show us when we come up short. With our eyes and hearts fully on You, would it be possible not to fall to thinking only of ourselves? Take our hands, please! Let us draw from Your strength and wisdom. Let our closeness to You be our best tool to see the planks in our eyes. Help us remove them to see Your beauty and Your glory today.