Wednesday, August 13, 2008

There's A Plank In My Eye

In this Chapter of John, the people brought a woman that had committed adultery to be stoned (and just where was the man involved I would like to know!?). I love how Jesus so gently saved her life "Let he that is without sin cast the 1st stone." (John 8:7) Then gently told her to turn from her ways and go. No long sermon to her telling her all the reasons adultery was wrong, didn't yell, "Why did you do this? You knew it was wrong?! How long has this been going on? How could you do this to your Father? You should be grateful that I didn't stone you myself. If I ever catch you again there will be trouble." He didn't so much as sound condescending to her, no judgement, just "go and do the right thing," filled with love towards her. I would love to know what it was that Jesus was writing in the sand.
We live in the land of political correctness and home of the proud. Surrounded by people with "rights", with access to therapy and books for every emotional hurt. But how often do we as Christians revert to scripture to find our paths? To grow in wisdom? To mature to be more Christlike? The Lord wrote this book to be relevant even for today.

The pharisees of the land knew the laws of the Bible; and knew them well. But with all this knowledge pride consumed their hearts. They knew how to pray elegant prayers and have divine inspiration from the Lord, but they did not know how to give grace. Each time they confronted Jesus they weren't listening to his heart, instead they searched for what He would say or do that they would not understand so they would have a reason to stone Him.

Why do we think that our own faults are not magnified when we try to judge others on their faults? Does not my brother get annoyed at me when I'm trying to instruct him? Does it not make him start thinking of all the things I do wrong? This judgement of Christ brought the pharisees sin of pride to light. Judge not lest you be judged. Matt 7:1

The kids and I are currently going through a study by doorposts, The Brother Offended. I needed to know how to cut down on the tattling, as it only seemed to bring more distance. Me being judge and trying to help them work things through, trying to be 100% fair as often as possible seemed to make it worse. (I'm telling you, I have no idea what I'm doing.)

One of the sections is to help discover the plank in our own eye. Are we easily provoked? easily offended? Are you loving deeply to cover the sin? Are we being honorable to forgive and forget a wrong? Are we only looking at our own best interest? Do we have an attitude of Christ? Are we devoted to put others above ourselves? Are we repaying evil with evil? Only confronting to bring justice to ourselves? Are you overcoming evil with good? Lots of hard questions.

The splinter in a brothers eye may be painful, something he is struggling to remove, distracting him from life. Yet how often do we come barging in the room with a plank sticking out our own eye as if coming to the rescue? The plank knocking over lamps, hitting our brother in the head, all the while we insist on "helping them". Telling him what he ought to do, how he needs to do it. As we are filled with our sense of spiritual superiority. How can we see the small sin accurately in someone else's life and give instructions when we have sin in our own lives?

Gabby accidentally kicked Brian in the eye Sunday night (they were on the trampoline) and he got a little black eye. I looked into his eye, but all that I could see looked good. But to be honest, I didn't really know what I was looking for...basically for there just to be an eye. When we went to the Optometrist the next day, she was the expert, she had special machines and training. All was fine. Those little vessels I was concerned about, were nothing. I was other exaggerating what they might mean. The expert who can identify and convict of sins is Christ. satan is the father of lies, he loves to provoke us, Not us.

Several years ago, I was really struggling with a hurt that someone had wronged me with. It kept me up at night, mauling over the thought, repeating the words and the scenario. We are talking several months after the fact. You would have thought I had just found out I was dying. I didn't know whether to defend myself? Say something? I wanted them to know just how much I was hurt. One night in the early morning hours I woke crying and praying for God to touch the situation, help me. I felt almost shaken as the thought came over me "Let it go. It doesn't matter. Someday they will know the hurt they caused because I will deal with it. And just as they will know in Heaven, when you get to Heaven, it won't matter any longer." I felt so much release. A little chastised maybe. But convicted at that point, that it really doesn't matter. And that situation has healed itself. Do I ever want to bring it up to them? No. I want to cover it in love and protect them from knowing they caused me pain. Does this mean that no one ever mistakenly says something or does something that hurts? No. Could I have gently went to my brother to confront them of the hurt they caused me? Yes. But, life is full of different interpretations, lack of understanding will happen. (I just wish I was better at doing this with my hubby and I'm sure he wishes so even more!)

When we as Christians disagree with each other, even in a situation where one is wrong, is a stone the answer? What if we are the one who is right? Don't we have the right to correct? Sure. But why and when should we? What of it will come? If it isn't an ongoing problem, are we only being blinded by our own self righteousness and will that in turn injure and cause damage? It happens with my kids. There are times that I know the heart of the child and know that what was done was not her heart. She is not characterized by one action. So is it for me to discourage her by pointing simple wrongs, rare mistakes? Not all wrongs are sinful. Some splinters aren't real, only perceived.

What do we do when those stones are thrown at us? We can stand up and yell and throw it back, or we can start gathering those stones to build a stronger house for the Lord. To be meek in return. To be gentle unto all men, to bear with love. Eph 4:2 Forbear one another in love with lowliness, meekness, and long suffering. And fortunately for you all, I take my vitamins, so you will have plenty of opportunities to practice your long suffering with me. :)

In the end, the man with a splinter of sin in his eye is accountable to God and only to God, never to us. Even if we are the one who was wronged. I pray for a heart that seeks Him. I pray for wisdom in encouraging others, I pray for forgives from those I have hurt, I pray in thanks for those who have covered my wrongs unbeknownst to me with their love.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

You do know you are brilliant, don't you? You should be writing books. Lucky for us, you are at least writing a blog. I love reading yours, and LEARNING also. Thanks! Hope you see you at Trish's.


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