Tuesday, February 10, 2009

specks and planks

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 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 own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42

Life-long church goers like myself are very familiar with this passage. And like so many other familiar verses, they seem to just pass right on through my ears, not registering with my dense head. No, this wasn't directly what Sunday's message was about, but a simple demonstration at the beginning of the message revealed something about my subconscious opinion of myself. Here's how it goes:

Pastor asks something like this, "everyone look at the person to your left. Now look at the person to your right. In front of you. Now behind you. Which of those is the worst sinner of all?"

Me being ornery and sitting next to my wife decide to point to my wife. Didn't feel too bad about it though, as i found that she was pointing right back at me. Of course everyone laughs; kinda fun to poke some fun at your friends/neighbors/spouse sitting around you. Some bypass the humor and get right to the spiritual answer and point to themselves (you guys are no fun... but you are right).

What was revealing to me was that I didn't even consider myself as a candidate as the worst sinner. Yes, i know he didn't ask us to, but the very essence of being a follower of Christ is acknowledging ones own sin and being absolutely disgusted by it - everyone of us should have pointed to ourselves. But by pointing to someone else, it show that I think of myself as a good person, not a bad sinner...

For whatever reason we are often so consumed with our own self-righteousness that we don't notice the tree sticking out of our own eye, growing all the time because we simply are blind to it. We go through life, thinking we have a few specks in our eyes, but hey, so does everybody, right? So we justify it, saying, I'm not a bad person, or at least not as bad as the guy next to me.

But God uses His word as a mirror and shows us how ridiculous we are to think that we are without sin. If you will let Him, He will bring you to absolute humility and disgust for your trees, your planks, your sin (confessed or otherwise) - and from there... complete restoration. friendship with God. It is absolutely overwhelming to grapple with the idea that our Lord, the creator of life itself, shows us such kindness and love, willing to forsake His Son on the cross so that through His death and His resurrection, we can be forgiven, and have the privilege of calling Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives, and living a life that reflects that belief.

Ask God to help you recognize your planks. But don't stop there. deal with them. Let Jesus change you. Just because you call Jesus your savior doesn't mean you are immune to sin. Let Him search the depths of your heart. And when he shows you what He finds, confess it, turn from it, and find life.

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