Monday, March 06, 2006

CrossTies Devotional Article For March 5, 2006

Of Specks And Logs
By Bill Denton

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3, NASB95)

Comedian Steve Martin said, "Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you'll be a mile away and have his shoes."
"Monday Morning Insight," www.ChurchStaffing.com (4-25-05)

We are all critics.  It’s just part of our nature.  Perhaps in its most benign form, criticism is our effort to improve things.  After all, lots of things need improvement, legitimately so.  There is really nothing wrong with identifying things that are not what they should be, offering one’s observation of that fact, then making things better.  

Let me offer a criticism.  No, let me tag along with Jesus and point you to one of his observations about human nature.  It’s found in that non-benign question, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”  It is not a benign question because it forces us to reconsider the object and purpose of our criticisms.

It is much easier to observe the faults of others instead of noting of my own.  I don’t think I’m the only person who has made the same discovery.  It’s always easier, less threatening, and certainly less demanding for me to camp out on the doorstep of somebody else’s shortcomings.  Sometimes, it’s even enjoyable, this practice of observing human behavior around me.  I can even predict with a fair amount of accuracy which people are going to find themselves in trouble or suffering the negative consequences of their faults.

For quite some time, I’ve been aware that others find this job of personal critic to be enticing.  Some have shared their tidbits of gossip, noting with the appearance of deep concern that the one under scrutiny has provided fodder for continued criticism.  Am I making more of this than is reasonably true?  Surely not!

Jesus did not believe that criticism was a small problem.  Neither did Jesus say that we should put a stop to all criticism.  That’s what some would have us believe, because they frequently refer to the statement in Mt. 7:1:  “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”  But to think that Jesus wanted no judging at all is to miss his point.  It seems that he wanted critics to understand how things work.  Critics are subject to criticism.  Jesus actually wanted us to be our own best critic.  Take a look at the log in your own eye before you deal with the speck in your brother’s eye.  See your own very real imperfections before you blow out of proportion the relatively small problems in your brother.  The old adage is true: “The only person you can change is - you!”

We all have plenty of room for improvement.  Of course, it takes a critical eye to notice the problems and make corrections.  I’ll try to do more of that for myself and less for you.


© Copyright  2006, Dr. Bill DentonAll Rights Reserved.Articles may not be reprinted in any "for profit" publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.   http://www.crossties.org
 
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