Grace For The Journey
We are all experts at finding the speck in our brother’s eye while ignoring the log jutting out of our own eye. It’s simply in our DNA. The more we direct a spotlight on the sin in the life of another, we imagine that our own sins will retreat into the darkness. Our Lord did not mince words on this subject . . .
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)
Jesus used the image of specks and logs to let us know just how messed up we really are. Image for a moment a log protruding from your own eye; now imagine your careful inspection of someone else, indignantly pointing out the speck lodged in the corner of their eye. The scenario might go something like this … Me: “I’m shocked—shocked—to see you have a speck in your eye!” … You: “Uh, Terry, thanks for pointing out the speck in my eye, but what about that log in your eye? Man, that looks nasty! Have you had that for a long time?”
Seems absurd doesn’t it? And that’s exactly the point Jesus was making. It is absolutely preposterous to be pointing out the sin in the life of another when we haven’t yet addressed our own sin. The Bible commands us to “Work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), not to work out on others for their sin!
And yet, the more we peer at the speck in our brother’s eye, the more we convince ourselves that our greatest problem lies outside of us. And as long as we see our problems as “out there,” we will never deal with what is going on “in here.” We’ll continue living lives of overwhelming hypocrisy.
Our Lord’s use of the “log” metaphor impales us on the truth of just how bad our “inside” problem really is. Our sin problem is not only obvious to us, it is conspicuous to everyone we meet – as obtrusive as a log sticking out of our eye! And the closer we get to them to point out their speck, the more we poke them with our protruding log, irritating them, and causing them pain.
The Gospel gives us permission to acknowledge our log, because our Lord paid the price for it – no matter how large our log might be. We don’t have to try to hide it with a few pitiful fig leaves of self-righteousness. We can squarely face our sin problem by the grace of the Gospel and begin seeing clearly all that Jesus has done for us. When we receive and respond to the truth of just how bad we really are, we begin to see more clearly just how good Jesus really is.
One of the Puritans put it beautifully when he penned this magnificent prayer . . .
“Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Thy outstretched arms;
Thou will not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
Thou wilt not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
Thou wilt not mark my mountain of sin, for He leveled all,
And His beauty covers my deformities.”
This is God’s Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”