Splinters, Beams, and Blind Spots
Greg is the wonder-working carpenter who has salvaged key pieces from our old house, brainstormed with my wife, Mary, and then transformed them into something new to be strategically placed in our new home. One of the major things Mary and Greg did was knock out a wall to open things up to the light. To do this they needed to place a large beam.
One morning, Greg strolled out to the front yard where I was trying to transplant some St. Augustine. “Dave, look at this splinter.” He was using his knife to carefully withdraw a tiny speck, all that was left of about an inch- long splinter that had driven itself into his hand earlier in the week.
Tiny specks and massive beams—Jesus uses the contrast to warn us against hypocritically trying to correct others, but first He presents a word cartoon. Two blind men are struggling. Obviously, neither can see, but the leader insists he knows exactly where they are going.
“And He also shared a parable with them, ‘Can the blind lead the blind? Will not both of them fall into a pit? Is a student above his master? Know this –whenever a student is fully trained, he will be like his teacher.
Now tell me, why do you look at the tiny speck in your brother’s eye, but you don’t even notice the wooden beam in your own? How will you be able to say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take that tiny speck out of your eye when you don’t even see the beam protruding from your own?’ Hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye. Then you will see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s.’” Luke 6:41-42
In this section of His sermon Jesus uses some powerful word pictures—proverbs meant to get under our skin and challenge us. The first is the cartoon I mentioned earlier about two blind individuals in perilous danger of falling into a pit. As I see the peril they are in, I’m reminded that Jesus is the only person who isn’t blind when it comes to guiding us in life. He’s also the One who doesn’t have either a speck or a beam in His eye. This is why I want to follow His lead and obey what He says.
I need to remember that Jesus did tell me that once I did get the beam out of my own eye, I, then, could see clearly to remove the speck from my brother’s. I also remember the red line I could see in Greg’s palm and the pain even that little remaining sliver generated. Big sin or little sin—they both still hurt and threaten us with the pit, the results of wandering down the wrong path.
Jesus, humble me today so that I make the connections in Your Sermon You want me to make. Remove both “specks” and “beams” from my spiritual eyesight and give me the courage and love to not only obey Your instructions but also help others to do the same.
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