October 26, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
There is a game called Plank And Speck. Ok, it is not a board game of Milton Bradley (Clue), Parker Brothers (Monopoly) or Selchow & Righter (Scrabble)! But it is a game that has been around a lot longer – and with much more serious consequences! Jesus talked about it in Matthew 7:1 through 5:
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you
will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back
to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not
consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let
me remove the speck out of your eye’; and, look, a plank is in your own eye?
Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye; and then you will see
clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.
This is all based on the fact that no one is perfect! We all know that already. We all have faults because we are all sinners. (See Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10, 23). In other words, we all have Specks in our eyes! And some Specks are bigger than others! Some reach the size of a Plank, according to the Lord.
The amazing fact is this: No matter how big the Speck that is in our own eye – from a tiny piece of sawdust to a eight-foot-long 2 x 4! – we too often are not aware there is anything in our eye! In other words, we too often don’t see anything wrong with us! And if we are honest enough to see some of our faults, we can always find someone who is worse in their imperfections than we are – whose Plank is bigger! But God again warns us against this practice. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 10:12 (God’s Word to the Nations), “…when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they show how foolish they are.”
Another analogy Jesus used concerning clear vision is also found in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:22 and 23:
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole
body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be
full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great
is that darkness!
The King James (and many other versions also) translate “…if your eye is bad…” as “…if thine eye be evil….” An ‘evil eye’ is not some old witch casting a spell on you! In the Greek it means an eye lens folded over – an extra layer or two, like a cataract – so proper light cannot get through and you can’t see clearly. How are you going to remove a Speck from a brother’s eye if you can’t see clearly?!
So how do you remove what is in your own eye? You first have to become aware that something is there, hindering your vision! I can think of no better way to become so aware than by asking for God’s help in the matter. And there is no better model prayer for such a request than that in Psalm 139:23 and 24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if thee is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” If this is prayed sincerely, God is more than willing to show us our faults – and then to remove them! Once the fault – the Plank – is removed “…from your own eye; and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
All this is to be done in a non-judgmental way! “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But we have to be wise here. As Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Calling out a brother or a sister who is engaging in obvious sin is not judging! It is obvious because God has already judged and spoken out against it as sin! If that is so – if whatever your brother of sister is engaged in is already addressed as sin in the Bible – then you are simply proclaiming what God has already judged. You are not the one initiating the judgment! I call it ‘the difference between judging and having judgment!’
We could do with a lot more of ‘having judgment’ among Christians! The Bible says in Leviticus 19:17 (Modern King James Version), “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall always rebuke your neighbor, and not allow sin on him.” And Paul tells us in Galatians 6:1 and 2:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual re-
store such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also
be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
But remember, according to John 13:34 and 35, the law of Christ is to “…love one another as I have loved you.”
So we have here a warning: Don’t be caught playing the game of Plank and Speck! But be aware, of your own faults first, addressing them before God. And then you are ready to help your brother or sister lovingly and carefully remove the Specks from their own eyes – and all of us will become more and more like Jesus!