Thursday, February 21, 2013

Her Speck, My Plank

               Have you ever been talking with someone and what they are saying or doing begins to get on your nerves? We all have, if we are to be honest. Lately, I have been a little more than annoyed with someone. Every time I talk to this person, I get annoyed and want to just walk away from them. Feelings and thoughts of the faults I see in them start to well up in my heart. Finding fault with our brothers and sisters in the Lord is something that we all do, whether we admit it or not. But God knows that we do this to one another, and He knows that we will, until we listen and apply what He has to say to us about this matter of our hearts.
                “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with what measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Any why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own! Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
                This morning, as I was praying and asking the Lord to help me love this annoying person in my life, He brought this scripture into my remembrance. Many years ago, the Lord gave me a picture of His words. I was struggling with a person in my life much like I am now. They annoyed the heck out of me. Every time I found myself in the same room with them, I would get frustrated and just have to walk away. The Lord had me read these scriptures and then told me to go and look into the eyes of that person. He asked me, “What do you see?” When I looked into the eyes of that person, I saw a miniature reflection of myself. He then said to me, “The faults you see in others are the ones you are not willing to see in yourself.” Those words cut me to the core of my being.
                When people annoy us, when our brothers and sisters in the Lord annoy us or get on our nerves it is because we have the same faults, we are just happy to see those faults on them and not on us. Fault finding within the church should not happen, but it does. We are a family, so we are going to get on each other’s nerves. But when we start to point out the faults of others, we need to stop and take a good hard look at ourselves. I used to get so annoyed with this person because I could see the fault of boasting in their service to the Lord. As I prayed for the Lord to teach me to love this person, He showed me some of the things that I boast about. Once again, the fault that I saw was in me, and what I saw in them was a reflection of my own faults.
                The word “judge” in this passage of scripture is defined as a calling into question, it also means to separate. Isn’t that what we do when someone annoys us? We call into question the words they say and the things they do, then we separate ourselves from them, because they annoy us. We begin to see the fault more and more. It soon becomes the “elephant in the room” and we avoid them every chance we get. We see them walking into church on Sunday morning, and we engage in a conversation with someone else just so we don’t have to talk to them. We do everything we can to “avoid” that annoying person.
                But Jesus tells us that the little speck we are seeing in that person is a huge beam sticking out of our own hearts. The word “speck” is defined as a tiny bit of straw or wool that flies into one’s eye, while the “plank” (or beam in some translations) is a part of a structure that bears weight. It is also defined as a root. The root of the annoying faults of that other person is in your heart. You see their annoying little specks because you have the root of that same fault in yourself. I say all this not to condemn you or to make you feel bad, but to encourage you to love one another even more.
                Paul tells us in Romans 2:1 that we are “inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” We see the faults of others because we have the same faults in our own hearts. A fault is a “weakness and/or a failing which is sinful in themselves and may lead to further sin.” (Dictionary of Bible Themes) When a brother or sister in the Lord annoys you, instead of focusing in on that one particular speck, take a moment and let the Lord examine your heart as well. You will find that within you is the root of the fault, and you are the one in sin.
                Jesus tells us that fault finding is just another way for us to be considered hypocrites. He tells us that if we want to help our brother or sister in the Lord, then we must first remove the root of the problem from our hearts. (Matthew 7:4-5) Finding fault with one another is going to happen, and I think (my opinion only) that is why Peter tells us to have “fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) When we see the faults of others, we must first take a hard look at ourselves. Instead of calling their faults into question, we have to bring ours to the Lord, when we do this; we will not only be showing love for our brothers and sisters, but that love will cover their faults/ sins as well as ours. Love covers a multitude of sins, ours and theirs.
                Before we try to hide from those in our church family that annoy us and get on our nerves, let us take a close, examining look at ourselves. The Lord will show you the fault that you see in them is really in you. He does not want you to point out the specks in the eyes of your brothers and sisters, not until He has shown you the plank that is in yours. When He removes that fault from you, then you will see clearly and that fault that once annoyed you will no longer affect you, because you won’t see it anymore. It will be gone, and you and your annoying brother or sister in the Lord will be able to continue with one another in peace and unity, which is what the Lord intends for each of us.
                Before you point out their specks, take a look at yourself. Let the Lord reveal His truth to you today, and may we all remove the planks that have taken root in our hearts and may we with fervent love, cover the multitude of sins that divide us, and may we, with clear eyes love without hypocrisy. In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen.