Things are not always as they seem. I remember traveling to Arkansas as a child and like most boys, one of my favorite things to do was find rocks. We would walk through the riverbeds searching for the neatest rock we could find, squinting through the glare of the water and the current to find “gems.” It was exciting, but once we removed them from the river, they began to lose their luster as they dried. Some of them still looked neat, but others turned out to be less interesting.
The rock didn’t change, but the “lens” between our eyes and the rock did change. We were mistaken and had to change something in our practice to properly see the rocks. Often times our eyes are deceived when we look at other people. And in the church, it is often done through a pharisaical lens. This is when we use Scripture to look outward at others, instead of inward at ourselves. The pharisaical lens traps us in a place where others are just rocks and we see ourselves as gems.
Matthew 7:1 is probably one of the most misquoted verses in Scripture, but let’s look at the verses that follow. Jesus is teaching about a person that sees a speck in someone else’s eye. They desire to remove it, but they fail to see the plank that is in their own eye. They are looking through a pharisaical lens. The truth is they will never see these people for who they truly are in God’s eyes, because there is something keeping them from seeing clearly.
However, the second truth is they are unable to see themselves properly. They become distracted with the specks in other’s eyes allowing Satan to keep them in bondage. This is why Jesus tells those listening to remove the plank in their own eye before they attempt to remove the speck in another’s eye. The reality is we do this more often than we acknowledge. It is often less painful to removes a speck from others instead of our own planks.
Pray for God to search your heart the next time you are upset with someone and see them as never being able to change. Pray the next time you view their actions as unforgivable, unredeemable, or hopeless. The thing you find unredeemable in them may be active in your own life. Perhaps there is a sin or a hurt in your life that needs the forgiveness and healing of Jesus Christ. Don’t focus on the flaws of others; you can’t fix them. However, you can allow Christ to fix you.
This post was published in The Monitor of Naples, Texas on 6/2/16.