Reading the gospels is a delightful exercise, well, until you begin to near the end; the end is where they crucified Jesus and there it is decidedly less pleasant as you watch Jesus go through the agony of His redemptive sacrifice, but, He comes out of the grave, and then it’s okay again. But before you get to the end you have occasion to hear Jesus say some amazing things, pretty radical really in the way He addressed people and broke down real life situations. Take for instance the case of the log and the speck.
Now that will be a great title for a book, the log and the speck. Jesus said in Luke 6:41-42 ‘why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and don’t notice the log in your own eye?’, first you take the log out of your own eye then you will see clearly and be able to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Heeding this one injunction will save us massive heartache, divisions and every form of strife in our lives. This is most interesting. Jesus recognises that the other person is not quite there, they have a speck in their eyes, and on that we heartily agree; after all we are most apt to see every form of speck in the eye of our neighbour, and even commit the shape to memory.
The challenging thing here is that the Lord holds out the possibility that even though they are not quite there, we may indeed be worse characters than the people we purport to criticise. Not only that, He proposes a diet of self assessment and self correction before looking to set the other person straight. Tough words indeed, tough words because we are so apt to denigrate, find fault with and complain about others secure in the knowledge of our own great virtue. As a pastor i have found in my fellow humans an astounding proclivity to do precision diagnosis of the microscopic failings of others while steadfastly ignoring our own gargantuan shortcomings.
This is a very serious matter, refusal to see what is wrong with us and consistently blaming others leads to a life of misery. We must all deal with our own issues; even when other people are wrong they will not change to make you happy but you can change to make you happy. It all boils down to repentance, there can be no permanent life change while we continue to make excuses for ourselves and excoriate others whose conduct is far less reprehensible than ours. When people complain about real or imagined offences, my stock response is FORGIVE; for some that is sanskrit, alien and incomprehensible; and they would rather nurse their hurt, hold it to their bosom and comfort themselves with it. So be it.
But never forget that there may be things in your life that you are blind to, that other people see and find less than enchanting. You just may not be as wonderful as you think. Perhaps we all have a log staring us in the face when we are around you. If you will show mercy, you will receive mercy. The way of the Master is the way of forgiveness, letting things go and starting again. He said it a few verses ahead of the log and the speck illustration. The way of the Master is the way of fixing yourself before purporting to fix others.