Start with Your Plank (Matthew 7:3-5)
By: Amanda Idleman
Today’s Bible Verse: “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, ‘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
Our home got a little crazier this year when we welcomed home a 3-month-old foster baby while already raising our three young kids. As a result, my husband and I have been sleep deprived and just a wee bit more grouchy than normal. Babies require around the clock care that our bodies aren’t accustomed to having to give anymore.
My response to this heightened stress level was to start sketching out in my mind all the ways I was going to preach my husband into having a better attitude. I spent one whole morning spelling out all the reasons why he needed to be cheerful at 3 a.m. when one of us has to get up and give this new baby a bottle. I was just so sure that he needed to let all the new stress, demands, and emotions just roll off his back without expressing frustration.
This was my great plan until that still small voice whispered three little words, “What about you?” Once I took a moment and started reflecting on my own actions and attitude, I realized maybe I wasn’t doing as well as I thought.
My self-righteous internal monologue had conveniently overlooked how I had recently delivered short and grumpy answers to my husband's questions. There also was a 5 a.m. fight I instigated over whose turn it was to get a bottle. Clearly, I have a lot to work on before I start correcting my spouse's attitude.
Those simple words- what about you- came straight from the Holy Spirit! They stopped me right in my tracks! By God’s grace, I realized for the first time in a long time what a hypocrite I was being. I needed to show grace and work on my own attitude first; before I started accusing my husband of failing in the midst of this time of transition.
How many times do we badger others over the things we think they are doing wrong, all the while, overlooking our own failures? Proverbs 21:2 tells us that all our ways seem right to us! It is so easy to start believing we have it all figured out and consequently only focus on the ways others need to correct their lives.
We miss our own planks while pointing out the dust someone else is dealing with. Next time you are ready to deliver a come-to-Jesus speech to a loved one; take a moment to first answer that simple question: What about me? See if it gives you pause or at least offers a widened perspective for the situation that includes the ways you may also need to grow.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page or follow her on Instagram.
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