the log and the speck

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers’ 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

I have heard and read this Scripture a dozen times at least.  I have heard a number of teachings whether in small group or a bigger gathering of believers.  I have heard this verse abused by those who choose to live amidst sloppy grace and I have treasured it in my heart when I feel the God of Heaven’s Armies defending me in the midst of my brokenness.

But this morning, as I allow the Lord to wash me with the Word, I have a significantly different perspective on what exactly this verse is talking about.

I’ve heard it say that this verse is about checking the sins in our life before pointing out the sins in our brothers.  And although there is a level of truth to that, Scripture instructs believers to sharpen and judge one another for the purpose of Holiness (1 Corinthians 15:12-13, Matthew 18:15-17, 2 Timothy 4:2, Proverbs 31:9).  We will never be blameless enough to execute the version of judgment we believe we are due to execute. Instead, we are called to lovingly rebuke our brothers and sister in the Lord and stir them to Holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit.

That being said.

What if the log in the eye refers to offense and cold, lackluster love?  It is no secret that our God judges the heart, the intention and our ability to love more than anything else.  It is no secret that He is love and that He desires for every movement of our hearts and of our lives to be motivated by selfless, pure, Holy love like He is.

That being said.

What if the reason the log in the eye is clearly more significant than the speck of sawdust is because Jesus regards an offended heart and lack of love a more serious issue than the sin which we are about to judge in another’s life?  It is so important to battle against offense in our hearts actively and fiercely.  An offended heart is a critical heart, and the more that we find faults in another the more our moral compass should turn inward as we seek out Christ in regards to our own offense.

It is good and right that we judge one another as believers and not shy away from the sharpening iron of our brothers and sisters.  When we practice the art of correcting and Biblical judgment correctly, it is a beautiful and most fruitful thing!  But in all things we must be motivated, led and guided by true, selfless love for our brothers.  The log is the selfish ambition and vain conceit that poisons every good deed we may do.  Let’s remove the log, walk in an unoffendable heart and be motivated by the growth and true well being of our brothers.


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