Your log, my speck… Wait, that’s not it.

Luke 6: 40-42

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother: ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brothers eye”

As followers of Jesus, we are being conformed to his image and we have a responsibility not only to become increasingly like Him, but also to assist our brothers in their quest to be like Him too. So we hold each other accountable, rebuke one another, encourage one another, correct one another, help one another; bear one another’s burden’s etc. Some of these activities (read rebuke/correction) are not fun especially if we are on the receiving end of the rebuke.  In times past I mostly interpreted the above verse as prohibiting me entirely from correcting my brother when they are wrong. It’s one of those verses you read, feel guilt and figure you should shut-up permanently. After all, at any one moment, I am largely unaware of the plethora of ways in which I may be, and probably am, sinning. Ergo, I have no moment when I have a right to confront my brother for their sin. Right?

Wrong. 

Thinking about the above verse, it appears to play out something like this:

1. Question: Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

Answer: That’s a good question! Why is that happening?  If you think about it, a log is infinitely larger than a speck. Extending the analogy to its logical conclusion, it becomes clear that this log must be obvious to you, not least of all because your eye is probably itchy; red; tearing and uncomfortable as a result of its presence. So WHY do you ‘not notice’? Well, I suspect the problem is not that we do not notice this nasty irritating thing in our eye (duh!); its not that we are ignorant of this log, the problem is that we are ignoring it. This passage is not about how hidden sin disqualifies you from dealing with your brothers sin (otherwise you’d have to wait until heaven to confront your brother….which is really quite pointless!) Rather, Jesus seems to be talking about the fact that there are revealed sins we DO know about (perhaps sins we’ve been talk to about) which we are consciously, voluntarily not dealing with and because we are not dealing with them all attempts to rebuke our brothers will inevitably make us:

2. Hypocrites! Yup. If the above person is us then we are pretending! We are claiming to see on one hand and to be blind on the other. We are saying ‘hey my sights so good I can help you take out this speck and at the same time ‘oh no I don’t see  this protruding thing in my own eye’.  We are lying.  Lying to others and perhaps, at some point, will end up lying to/deceiving ourselves if we avoid dealing with the sin long enough.

So, again,  question: if you ‘can’t see’ your own glaring obvious sin how well-equipped are you to deal with someone else’s sin?

3. Answer: you’re not well equipped! At all. If anything your dangerous to your brother. You need to hold up a mirror to your own eye; take out your own log and THEN (and only then) take out the speck in your brothers ( and yes…really… take it out!) Once you acknowledge and deal with your log, life becomes so much clearer and you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brothers eye.

So, what I think is that Jesus is saying is that sin that’s being ignored in my life: prayerlessness, abandoning the habit of meeting together with saints, being unfaithful in doing my duties – name it – will significantly undermine my capacity to be useful to my brother. Until I take out my log I’m not in a good position to help others not least because my motivations and attitudes in doing so could (most likely will) be all wrong and I could end up being mean or self-righteous or hurtful or all manner of other unhelpful things and seeking to do things in selfishness rather than God’s love.

While my logs remain unchecked I am a dangerous person to my brothers. A hazard to everyone’s eyes, if you will! I will probably leave people terribly scarred by my saving exploits.  But if I take out my own log, my own health benefits, my own peace is restored and my usefulness to my brother: my ability to help him/her enhance his/her own sight by gently+firmly pointing out to him/her things he/she genuinely may not even have noticed, is greatly increased.

May God help us.

– J

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Blog Break (08 May 13)

Here are some great links that I believe will be worth your while:

  1. WE ARE HYPOCRITES, Amy Henry: “According to a new Barna study, 51 percent of Christians have attitudes and actions more like those of the hypocritical, self-righteous Pharisees than of Jesus.”
  2. IS BAD DOCTRINE A SIN? Michael Patton: “I suppose that I want bad doctrine to always be sin. That way, it is easy for me to explain why people don’t agree with me. If we are not on the same page theologically, the answer is simple: they are in sinful rebellion to the truth. Next…”
  3. 60 RESOURCES FOR BATTLING PORN. I know that many of us would rather leave this sin unaddressed than lose sleep over it. But I encourage you not to give up the fight. I hope you will find these resources helpful.
  4. THE SACRED-SECULAR DIVIDE, “Over the years of laboring to press the gospel deeply into students of increasingly postmodern orientation and sensibilities, Matt has discovered that one of the most important topics to tackle with freshman collegiates and new believers is the so-called “sacred-secular divide.” We all participate in this to certain degrees, and the lessons are relevant far beyond the college campus and this perhaps strangest of life’s seasons.”
  5. Lastly, in MY GREATEST UNDOING, Serah Njambi cuts straight to the heart-chase with this one; “My greatest undoing, Is that I quote verses on these twitter streets, And are quick to condemn on Facebook walls, In exactly the same way Pharisees did in Bible times, I blog my prayers, And parade my righteousness for all to see.”

Enjoy and have a blessed day.

Blog Break (6 Mar 13)

It’s been awhile since I posted the last Blog Break. I guess the tension after the general elections here in Kenya have re-organized all our schedules as we wait for the final poll results to be announced. Here are four links to articles that I found worth sharing and re-reading:

  1. TEACHABILITY. This post was written for me. It hit the nail right on the head (and into my heart). David Murray; “No matter how much talent and gifting we have, if we are, or become, unteachable, we will never reach anywhere near our full potential in our careers, our callings, or our relationships.”
  2. HOW TO ROCK TWITTER LIKE A PHARISEE, I don’t know about you, but I find myself doing it all the time. Human beings have a natural tendency to draw “envious” attention towards themselves, even under the guise of humility and innocence. Mike Leake hits home with this one. I particularly loved the examples he used in the “SmugPharisee” mock twitter account. Plus I got to learn a new word from the post: Facebragging.
  3. CHURCH SHOULD BE A PLACE OF UNDISTRACTING EXCELLENCE. Stephen Altrogge; “In worship, children’s ministry, preaching, coffee, sanctuary temperature, lobby greeters, and ushers, we are aiming for “undistracting excellence”. If our service to the Lord is sloppy, disorganized, late, and smells bad, it will distract people from communing with God. If the worship team sounds like a walrus seal massacre, people will have trouble focusing their attention on God.”
  4. Finally, in WHY I DON’T LIKE CHRISTIAN MUSIC, Michael Patton takes the question right out of my mouth, “Why is it that when people become Christian in the music business they feel pressured to only sing songs exclusively about Jesus?” The answer could be controversial. read and find out.

Enjoy your reading, friends.

 

Unmoved by the Gospel

“Salvation belongs to the LORD.” Psalm 3:8a

Some words are easier said than believed, and the words above are no exception. Do we really believe that salvation belongs to the LORD, and entirely so? I am not sure I always do. What happened last week is just one of many awakening reminders. I was at the park, hanging out with a couple of friends when this young man, probably in his early twenties, approached us. He looked fairly decent. Although his clothes were dirty, he was not haggard. I was aware of all the stories of con-men faking distress and seeking handouts from unsuspecting people. As a matter of fact, one had just passed by and I did not talk to him. I am not sure why this particular man was different. Probably because he spoke in impeccable English, with surprisingly too many vocabularies.

“Sir, if you don’t mind, I would just like to snatch a few minutes of your time and have a short discourse with you…”

He went on about how his mother had come to Nairobi, seeking medical treatment. He had come to visit her at the hospital a few months back… *incoherent details*… Now he was stranded in Nairobi and needed money to get back home, to Kisumu. It is the classic con-men story that I had heard and ignored a dozen times before. Continue reading Unmoved by the Gospel

The Salvation of a Hypocrite

As followers of Christ, we don’t always need to travel across borders to find souls in need of a Savior. More often than not, we don’t even need to step out of our houses to find a soul in need of our witness. And though this could come as a shocker, we don’t even need to leave our own beds to find a soul in need of the Gospel. That’s right, professing Christians need to hear the gospel just as much as unbelievers, if not more so. This is because many of us are simply strutting cloaks of empty religion.

I know all this because… I was the front-runner:
You see…

Continue reading The Salvation of a Hypocrite