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The Speck and the Plank



October 20, 2021


Praying Friends,


Thank you for joining us in prayer for our prodigals and for revival. I hope this reminder is a source of encouragement to keep leaning into your God.


We have been considering some of the searching words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. Today it is the story of the speck and the plank in Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV):


Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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.

The word that Jesus used for “judge” is κρίνω, which means to make a distinction between, to assume censorial power over, to bring under question, to sentence, to decide, to approve, to prefer, or to be of an opinion. (Sorry for the long list. It could be longer!)


All of us have a right to an opinion. All of us should make a distinction between things of importance. The problem comes in when we try to force that opinion on others, criticize, or judge by passing sentence upon them. That’s the judge’s responsibility, not ours.


The first statement of Jesus is a reminder that we will also be judged. We need to exercise great caution in our judgment of others because there is coming a day when God, our true judge, will assess our lives. This day of judgment requires us to think with an eternal perspective, because the same measurement that we use to judge others will be placed upon us. You have heard the old adage, “What goes around, comes around.” The Biblical truth that this saying is based on is “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NKJV). It will be true in our treatment of others.


If you are going to deal with an issue in someone else’s life, make sure that you do so with a clear understanding.


Have you ever removed a splinter from someone's finger? How about a speck of dirt from someone's eye? You need light. You need magnification. You need clear vision to do so. Jesus used extreme hyperbole in dealing with the issue of judging others. If you have a log or plank in your eye, you will not be able to see the little speck in your sister’s or brother’s eye. It’s ridiculous and absurd to think of doing such a thing.


Because of this, self-examination is essential. What is the condition of your heart? What sin, what failure, what weakness, what problems do you need to deal with personally right now? Before you start worrying about the things other people are doing, take care of yourself. (If you are honest, you will find there is enough to deal with in yourself without criticizing others.)


The truth of the matter is that it might only take a little water and possibly a pair of tweezers to remove a speck of sawdust from someone's eye, but to remove a plank could take major surgery.


Jesus’ lesson on the speck and the plank raises the whole issue of motives. Why would you judge another? Why would someone with a plank in their eye even try to remove a speck from another person's eye? Jesus used strong language and said, “You hypocrite!” And He’s the only one who could truthfully say this. Even as I write, I acknowledge that many times I have judged others with a wrong motive. I am that hypocrite. (Today’s confession!)


The reason Jesus called these people hypocrites was that they didn’t care. They didn’t judge with righteous judgment. They didn’t do it to help the other person or for the honor of God. They did it to make themselves look better. They enjoyed sitting in the seat of judgment. It made them feel good about themselves. We, too, are proud people and we constantly need to assess our motives.


In closing, let us all seek to be men and women of the truth. Let us stand for what is truly valuable and important. Let the secondary issues, the non-issues, the self-imposed rules fall by the wayside. Let us continue to search our own hearts instead of cutting down others. Let us adopt the mind of Christ and seek to be humble in all our ways. Let us treat others with the love and care they deserve.


Thanks again for praying!


Love in Christ,


Bryan and Rachel