Good morning my brothers and sisters. I pray your Friday is winding down and you will be able to get some rest this weekend. Just a reminder, Prayer Service at 8:00 p.m. tonight. Dial 1-605-562-8401. Your access code is 670-7270.
When I woke up this morning, I thought about the word plank and how it is used in scripture to describe the behavior of some people. Too often we can see the mistakes, faults, downfalls, etc. of others, but we can’t seem to see our own.
Jesus teaches us, “Do not judge others and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” (Matthew 7:1-2) Jesus’ point is for us to examine ourselves, our own motives and conduct before we start judging others. It may be that what we see as bad habits, weaknesses or negative behaviors in others may be applicable to us. Before we begin to criticize or find fault in others, may we first evaluate ourselves and determine if we need the same judgment rendered to us. We have a tendency sometimes to tear our brothers and sisters down rather than build them up. The motive sometimes could be that we wish to maintain control and authority, therefore we try to bring others down so that we might be glorified and maintain a position of authority.
Jesus goes on to make his point even clearer in using the metaphor of a plank and speck or splinter in one’s eye.
Just in case we do not know what a plank is, let me define it for us. It is a long, flat piece of timber thicker than a board. If you are familiar with railroad tracks, the railroad ties are also called planks. The main point is that a plank is large and heavy, while a speck or splinter is very small and light in weight.
The scripture reads, “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).
Jesus is making reference to one person judging and condemning another before looking at themselves first. Jesus’ point is that we must first remove our own plank/log before we can help remove the speck in our brother’s eye. The planks and specks are references that could also be directed to sin. We criticize and point out the sins of others when we have committed the same sin. Maybe we just forget!
It is a travesty when a Christian or a church can see the wrong in others, but not themselves. The church suffers tremendously when leaders and members cannot find it within themselves to be forgiving and compassionate. This does not mean we accept the wrong of others, but we should use humility and grace in approaching another. Or, maybe we should just mind our own business and leave the criticism and judgements to God.
Often, we will criticize and judge others without even knowing all the facts and details. It can escalate to a gossiping session rather than one based on facts.
It is not our place to pronounce judgment on anyone because only God can do that. I believe it is fair to say, we are not qualified to pronounce judgement on someone else because we can not see our own sins.
I am reminded of a woman who complained to me for about a year because of her dislike for something that was going on in her church. When another lady started complaining about the same thing, the first woman was in disbelief even though she had gone through the same scenario.
It is amazing that we can find so much wrong with the little problems of others while we ignore our own enormous problems.
In closing, may we pay attention to our own problems, weaknesses, sins, faults, etc. and then we can be a better help to others with theirs. Let’s leave the judging up to God and let’s get our own situation corrected.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor