“Remove the wooden beam from your eye first”

Having trouble with someone? Can’t see eye to eye? Maybe one or both of you have a beam in your eye, as Jesus explains in Luke 6:39-42.

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

We are all blind to something. As sinners, as people with some kind of agenda, perhaps even an agenda we aren’t aware of, as people with opinions or perceptions or views all our own, we have impediments that keep us from seeing the world as it really is. It makes us blind. And when we are blind, we can’t effectively lead others. That blindness is the beam in our eyes.

That person we disagree with, that we are having a fight with, that we see as wrong or sick or crazy or even evil. Maybe they aren’t quite who we think they are. Maybe that splinter in their eye isn’t what we think it is. And maybe we can’t see it because of the beam in our own eye.

Jesus has told us in the Gospels to judge not, lest we be judged. In this reading from Luke He tells us to first take the beam out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from the eye of another — really another way of saying, “Judge not.” For sometimes that beam in our own eye is very difficult to see, to identify, to pluck.

It’s true, some people have a splinter terribly in need of plucking. And that’s the beam in their own eye. But that’s a battle they need to wage. Just as you need to wage the battle to remove your own beam (or beams).

God wants us to love one another — Jesus commands it. And one way to get there is by learning what are the impediments to our relationships with others; what are the beams in our eye.

So the next time you find yourself in a disagreement or fight with another person, remember Jesus’ words. Ask yourself, what am I not seeing; what is the beam in my eye? And it might not hurt to remind them of Jesus’ words, if they are amenable to His words. And remember what Jesus said about the greatest commandments: To love God with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The goal has never been to be holier than thou but to love thou.

 

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