This past Sunday we had several wonderful visitors worshiping with us who had just attended their 62-year high school reunion. As I was asking about their reunion, one of them (no names shall be mentioned as to whom it was) advised that they weren’t too sure who all those “old people” were that were supposedly in their class. 😉 And such reminded me of a story about a woman who was sitting in a waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma which bore his full name. She suddenly remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name that had been in her high school class some 37 years ago. She began to wonder if he was the same guy that she had a secret crush on way back when. When she was finally called back to a room, she caught a glimpse of the dentist and quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been her classmate. “Hmmm… or could he?” After he examined her teeth, she asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School. “Yes. Yes, I did. I’m a Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.
“When did you graduate?” she asked. He answered, “In 1971. Why do you ask?”
“You were in my class!” she exclaimed. He looked at her closely.
Then, that ugly, wrinkled old man asked her, “What did you teach?”
Have you done that before? Look at someone who may be your age and begin to make some contrast putting you in a better light? It’s easy to look at others and say, “I don’t think I look as old as that person over there!”
What the woman in the story was doing is something we have found ourselves guilty of at one point or another. We have very “critical eyes” that examine and inspect others’ lives to the microscopic level. It is rather easy to see another’s “wrinkles” rather than our own.
Consider what Jesus said in Luke 6:41,42: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
What was Jesus’ point? Jesus wants us to begin by first looking at ourselves. The illustration that Jesus gives is quite interesting as one brother who has a HUGE LOG sticking out of his eye is concerned about a SPECK that is in his brother’s eye. He’s looking so intently on what’s going on with his brother and the speck that he has, that he isn’t even considering himself first who has a GINORMOUS SUPPORT BEAM sticking out of his eye.
It’s easy to be “critical” of others and see all their flaws and mistakes but fail to see our own flaws. I remember when Kensi and I went to Disney World to celebrate our 1-year anniversary, we saw a kid in one of the many lines at Magic Kingdom and the kid was just walking back and forth beside the partition pole that everyone holds onto as they wait in line and he licked every square inch of it I’m about sure. It sure was easy for me to be ever-so critical of the parents, but after we had children, I found Ayden licking the bottom of the Pizza Hunt counter when he was little. The easy part is looking at others faults, their “wrinkles,” while we don’t even consider our own inadequacies.
To make a note here, the Lord is not saying we shouldn’t be concerned about the brother who has a speck in their eye, for we know we have a responsibility to help our fellow brethren. Jesus is not saying to ignore what they have going on, but especially in the context of this passage of Luke 6 regarding making a judgment, it is necessary that we start with ourselves first (cf. 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Tim. 4:16).
There is so MUCH to say on this topic and I am not able to do diligent justice to the entire thought that Jesus is emphasizing with just this one article. But the point I want us to simply consider is that we need to be careful in how we point out faults of others, sometimes not even with the intent of helping them, rather just talk about them to others.
Jesus is saying in just these two verses for us to take a good long look in the mirror first. There’s going to be some “wrinkles,” some faults, some “blemishes” that we need to consider. Attitude is major in the judgments we make, for as Jesus said, “for in the way you judge you will be judged” (Matt. 7:37). We must have the proper attitude along with the proper standard (God’s word), for “by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).
As one has said, “May we truly view the Word of God, not as a microscope to examine the lives of others, but as a mirror to search into our own hearts and lives.” It starts with me. It starts with you.
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊