Matthew 7:3-5 “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.
If you’ve ever had something in your eye, and who hasn’t, you know how annoying and debilitating it can be. A very tiny piece of dirt or even an eyelash in the wrong place can bring life to a standstill and make you unable to function. Sometimes it requires another person to get your eye free and clear again, and what a relief when it is. The teaching Jesus gives above is obvious- take care of your own shortcomings before you worry about straightening out those around you. Good advice we all need to heed. What we sometimes miss is that by not getting the plank out of our eye we fail not just ourselves but those around us who could use help getting specks out theirs. Jesus isn’t teaching here that we should ignore the things in others that keep them from being all they could and should be, only that we take care of our own stuff first so that we can be truly helpful and not just demeaning. Most people do not have relationships with enough trust that allows for real honesty. When I have something in my eye I want someone to help me get it out, but it needs to be someone I can trust, someone who has my best interests at heart, someone who has acknowledged their own impairments and can be gentle and caring in helping with mine. We can really help one another be the people God wants us to be. When we don’t face our own shortcomings we not only further our own hypocrisy but miss the chance to lovingly care for those around us. Which planks do you need to get out of your eye this week? For whose sake?