How quick we can be to criticize, to point out the speck in the eye of another while being oblivious to the log in our own. That’s the issue addressed in the latest edition of FAITH Magazine by Pete Burak who, every month, gives counsel on how to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Pete, above, is the director of id, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He is also a parishioner at Christ the King Parish in Ann Arbor. Pete writes:
It’s so easy to criticize someone we sometimes don’t realize we’re doing it. Whether we’re yelling at the TV imploring the coach to take a timeout, lamenting about a political candidate with whom we vehemently disagree or beyond incredulous at the 1000th time the boss forgot a meeting, we have a tremendous capacity to notice everything around us that needs to change or improve.
Wouldn’t life be so much better if only my kids would do this or my spouse would stop that? We ask ourselves why others don’t see their flaws and why they won’t do something about them!
Even when our criticisms or observations are accurate, Jesus reminds us in Luke chapter 6 that we need to be very careful when we feel the need to identify and address areas where other people need to change or grow. Jesus uses a simple parable to illustrate these situations: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?” (41-42)
The parable of the speck and the log reminds us to first take stock of our own hearts and what God is doing in us, before doing the same regarding others. Instead of constantly looking for ways others need to change, we need to look to Jesus to reveal to us those areas where we could use a little improvement.
When we grow, often our perspective on the “specks” of others adjusts as we see them more and more as Jesus sees them. Pope Benedict XVI equated conversion to receiving new sight from the Lord; our vision is more clear, accurate and holy when we allow the Lord to heal us and remove any obstacles keeping us from union with him.
Then with hearts full of love and truth, we can play our part in the healing and transformation of others. Take some time today to ask the Lord to show you the logs in your life and, if you’re tempted to focus on someone else’s speck, just give them to Jesus instead.
(P.S. Though I still think that our coach should have called a timeout!)