March 24, 2019

Logs

Devotion for the Week..

A couple of weeks ago it was my turn to teach the lesson during our Thursday night kids program at the church. I was teaching about Jesus telling His followers to remove the logs in their eyes before trying to help others with the specks of dust in their eyes and to demonstrate the "logs" in our eyes I had to hold a piece of 2x4 lumber up as if it were sticking out of my eye. The kids thought this was hilarious and would burst out laughing every single time!

To be honest, I've always loved this passage of Scripture for the same reason. Talking about logs sticking out of our eyes is such an exaggeration that it really gets the point across. Just in case you're not familiar with it, here's what Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5, "And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye."

Of course, Jesus doesn't mean we have actual logs sticking out of our eyes. In verses one and two of that chapter, He said, "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged." The logs Jesus talked about represented the bad things we do, which we are generally ignoring when we are worried about trying to fix all the bad things the people around us are doing. Jesus was telling His followers, including us, to worry about the sins in their own lives and then they could concern themselves with the sins of others.

What I found funny that night at the kids program was that just before we left, we leaders were talking and one of the other ladies started to say something about another person. Then she stopped herself and said, "I'm judging right now. I think I have a log in my eye!" She laughed and didn't bother to finish the story she had been about to tell.

Judging others is such an easy trap to fall into! People around us are constantly doing things we disagree with or things that make us think, "I would never do that." That's the wrong attitude to have for two reasons. First of all, though we may not do the specific thing we are judging the other person for, we can be sure that there are other things we do that are contrary to what God wants for us. I can't find who originally said this, but I've heard a phrase that is so appropriate: "Don't judge me because I sin differently from you." Your sins and my sins may be different, but they're still sins.
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The other problem with judging others is that when we are judging someone, we feel like we are better than them, which is most definitely contrary to God's will for us. It makes me think of this parable Jesus told:

"Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:9-14).

We are never meant to have 'great confidence in our own righteousness,' but that is exactly the attitude we are operating from when we are judging others and it is the perfect example of a log that needs to be removed from our eyes.

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