Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 47; 147:12-20, Jeremiah 31:1-14, Colossians 2:8-23, Luke 6:39-49
Point your index finger straight up. Keeping both eyes open, move your finger slowly toward one eye until it rests against your eyelashes. Notice what happens: even though you know it’s there, your brain compensates and most of your finger disappears from sight. To actually see it, you have to close the other eye or make some pretty marked adjustments to how you see things.
Now think of the proverbial logs in our eyes. At first they are irritating or distracting, but over time we adjust. We look past our self-involvement and call it common sense. Our judgmental log fades into a haze we like to call high expectations. Apathy blends into a background of alleged maturity. The log is more than a metaphor for our perception. Perception itself is a product of the brain, the physical tool we shape and re-shape with each choice and decision. Every time we ignore our own selfishness, for example, we are that much more likely to be selfish again. To adjust our behavior to the point where we are more concerned with our own logs than with our neighbor’s speck, we must make the (sometimes great) effort to intentionally refocus our mental and spiritual perception.
Why are we so preoccupied with our neighbor’s speck anyway? Partly because it distracts us from examining our own flaws too closely. But isn’t it also true that what we find most irritating about others is often what we don’t like about ourselves? Perhaps the speck we see is really a familiar log viewed through our own skewed perspective.
Once we honestly set about the task of learning to see clearly, we inevitably begin to think more clearly. When we think clearly, we develop the understanding and compassion Jesus wants us to have for ourselves and others. We can’t feel real compassion for others until we understand our own shortcomings and have compassion for ourselves. Though this doesn’t mean we can keep carrying our logs – Jesus does call us to remove them, after all. And isn’t it easier to find our way through the world once they’re gone?
Comfort: God is always ready to help us remove the logs.
Challenge: Be brave, and ask someone you trust to point out a few of the logs that might be weighing you down.
Prayer: Teach me, Lord, to see myself clearly. Amen.
Discussion: As you go through life, do you find you have more or fewer enemies?
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