God has been working on my heart through the verses Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye?” When I was younger I was adept at getting splinters out of my children’s hands and feet! Any child of mine who says differently, well, that was always my whiny kid anyway. But as I have aged, especially now that my eyes are requiring bifocals, no one is handing me a needle and asking for my services to get splinters out of their extremities. Actually my husband, who doesn’t heal very quickly decided to just let one fester instead of allowing me to attempt what I used to be very proficient at! So this verse is taking on a new depth for me.
There has been a plethora of posts and discussions lately in my life that have been disparaging while possibly attempting to assist others in their inferior discernment skill sets. For those of you who reread that sentence, they are being a little judgey! Looking back, it would appear the posts and remarks were all from one side aparently. But It’s really hard to call people out for being judgmental because you are then, in fact, being judgmental, while you are pointing out that others are being judgmental; even if you are pointing out a truth. It is a true Catch 22!
I am going to use my sister as an example; I love my sister and care very deeply for her. You know, those sisters that finish each others sentences, totally think alike, are best friends and are like two pieces of one cloth? That is not my sister and I. I tried to follow her everywhere when we were little kids. I waited for her at the window until the bus arrived each day, in a tiny stalker fashion. Our mom made her take me wherever she went, like all moms’ do. She hated it. Her best friend was very good to me. I may have followed my sister to get to hang out with her best friend.
As we grew up, I realized that even though we were raised in the same environment even though we both went through significantly difficult financial seasons in our adulthood, we ended up with very different points of view on the things that people argue over the most. Both of us are very smart women. I would never suggest that my sister is not a smart woman. We just evaluated our life situations and the information differently. We both had access to similar data. I know because we frequently send each other posts on Facebook but neither of us believes or are swayed by the other’s data, nor do we trust the other’s sources.
As a teenager I could easily be swayed to either side of a controversial topic. I could empathize with both sides depending on how well someone argued for that side. That’s why the topics are controversial! I hated that about myself. It takes me much longer to process, to pray and to ensure that I trust sources than it does most other people. I am skeptical the minute it gets controversial. I stick my feet in the mud and slow down, weighing my choices. I don’t want my decisions to be set in stone. I expect people to present their side of the topic in a light that only shows their best interests. In other words, I expect them to omit stuff that I don’t want to know about that might affect my decision. I want more time to think about it. But don’t necessarily not want to make a decision. I want to make several decisions and try them on to see how they fit. I want to test to see how your words fit your actions.
So all of those people, making all of those judgmental posts in my life, from all of those people that I love so very much, on both sides of this controversial topic you are a lot like my sister and I. My sister and I are both very smart people but we view politics and social issues and religion even, from different angles. We can find common ground easily enough, for instance we both have a heart for the homeless and want to help people. We may just go about that assistance in a different method. We may want to solve poverty and pollution differently.
The same goes for those people who want to assist others with their faulty discernment skills. They are pointing out the splinters in each other’s eyes (and in mine I suppose) without seeing the log in their own. For twenty years that I have known them, they have all been friends. They have had a common mission then a few issues found them divided. Actually I’m not sure those issues divided them as much as how to solve those issues. Like my sister and I, they have more common ground than they want to acknowledge.
But there are so many stray needles in the hands of people trying to get splinters out of someone else’s eye, who have logs in their own eyes and many of them may need bifocals and a lot of good people are getting wounded. “You aren’t following this Bible verse or this Bible verse… But please don’t bring up this Bible verse.” And we all forgot the ones about longsuffering and forgiveness. There’s a lot of bleeding.
It’s really heartbreaking to pick a side or discern where the truth really lies on either side, if there is any at all. Because there isn’t much grace that I can discern. Between these people who loved each other just a few months ago, and for years before that. These are people who really, if they stopped and thought about it, care so much for each other and took vows to look out for each other and each others spiritual well-being. There’s just a whole lot of “we’re right” going on. And a whole lot more bleeding from those stray needles and good intentions. The splinters are just going to have to fester their way out, I guess.
I have some praying and some healing to do. I got a little judgey myself and maybe that’s my log. Maybe I need to use my words. Maybe I need to use my words, down on my knees to the Great Healer because there are so many wounded. I can best be used on His side praying for wholeness of all those people that I love and who love each other so much, that they just forgot. I need to pray for those people on both sides and who haven’t picked a side. Instead I’ll use my words to pray for His healing, His mission, His people, His timing… May He be glorified through our weakness.