“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?’ - Matthew 7:3-4
I am convinced that Jesus has a sense of humor. As I read through the gospels, I am struck by how funny some of His illustrations and conversations were. This passage in Matthew 7 is an example. The word picture He painted is hilarious. He describes the foolishness of pointing out a speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye, while there is a plank in your own eye.
By “plank,” Jesus described what we would call a 2 x 4 board. Can you imagine? How silly someone would look with a giant board sticking out of his eye, all the while fussing and complaining about the tiny speck of dust in another’s eye! This scenario has cartoon and comic strip written all over it.
Notice that Jesus never said it was wrong to notice the speck of sawdust in another person’s eye. The problem is ignoring the plank in your own eye. The question Jesus asks in verse 4 is interesting. How can you help your brother get the speck out of his eye if there is a plank in yours? It seems that the expectation here is not only to point out sin in someone else’s life but also to help them get rid of it.
Unfortunately, often times when we point out sin in other people, we have no intention or desire to help them remove it. And perhaps that is the biggest plank of all.
Dear Father, please keep me ever aware of the plank in my own eye before I judge anyone else. Do not let me become arrogant and full of pride. In Jesus’ name, amen.