Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One man's speck is another man's plank

I have been wrestling with some spiritual issues lately. Not anything theologically foundational, just some of the "bricks" that get built along the way toward a spiritual home.

There is some imagery that Jesus uses in The Great Big Book of Everything (Bible) that gets confusing for me as a seeker. In Matthew chapter 7 verses 1 through 5, Jesus refers to the speck and plank relationship. One is obviously a combination of the other (plank to speck). He explains that you are not able to point out the speck in someone else's eye until you remove the plank in your own. This serves as imagery for judgment. While we have sin in our life, we cannot be standing in the place of the accuser pointing out the sin in someone else's life.

So my question is, how can we help our brothers and sisters alter the state of their sin when we will never be sin-less because we are imperfect and human?

I know the purpose of this verse is to ultimately put the job of Judge into the hands of God, which I am so adamantly thankful for, but what about accountability or small groups that attempt to help each other get out of their sinful ways? Can I really point out someone else's insecurities when I have fears and worries and ailments of my own?

I am convicted by this because recently I did just that. With good intentions I made myself vulnerable to a friend and pointed out a fault. With good intentions, they left the room hurting/angry. For days I was trying to figure out what good that conversation had done when I was challenged with this whole speck and plank issue. I can't stop thinking about it.

Is the difference between what Jesus was referring to and what I did based on intentions? If that were the case then why did my situation still turn out the way it did with my dear friend feeling judged and not loved? Besides, we all know that intentions and interpretations are more commonly way off than they are matched up. Rarely do people feel the way you intend them to feel in situations like that.

And although people don't live like it, sin is sin is sin. There are no levels. Just because the consequences are different here on Earth, they are not different in the eternal realms. So how can we sit back and point at someone elses wrongs and not acknowledge the 3 fingers pointed right back at ours? That's just prideful.

Anyway, I am battling with the questions. Any thoughts?


Blake said...

I think the motivation behind someone speaking into someones life is the key. To the extent your motivations are pure, and the content that you're sharing in your opinion is God-inspired, then I almost think it's sinful in nature to not say something. For example, if I am a person whose been wounded in the past and therefore avoids confrontation, but yet I feel led to speak into someone's life that I care about, my sin and mistrust of God might lead me to keep quiet. "Remember last time you opened your mouth and the pain it led too," I may subconsciously say to myself.

I think the plank is relevant when someone's motives are not pure or rooted in Gods will and arrogance and pride are involved. Proverbs is great pointing out the power and presence of "fools" in our lives. Sometimes its about fighting our fears of rejection and insecurities to offer a good friend God's truth (as we see it).

Do you agree with the things that were said? The Bible also says that we are to "sharpen one another" as iron sharpens iron. How can we be about His plan if we fool ourselves into thinking we need to "be something" (or remove the plank) prior to moving on His behalf. Look at the People God and Jesus have used throughout history. These weren't perfect people, just people with wisdom to see God's movements, courage to be apart of it, and trust to act.

For me personally, speaking takes tremendous strength.I have already lost a very close friend for doing the same thing a few years ago. In fact, I was the best man in his wedding, and I faced tremendous shame and ridicule for my actions. However, the issues I pointed out led directly to where I predicted they would - drug abuse, affair, and divorse. I will take that risk again today for any of my friends fearing that those very friends may not call me friend any more as a result. That is my commitment to God and to you.

The plank might be a way out for some (i.e. myself) if I didn't believe God is a redeeming God and that He will use me from time to time in the lives of those I love. But again, humility comes before honor so we always have to be open to hearing the views and opinions of others. It would be my suggestion that you reconvene for the purpose of talking about how each of you felt and see if God is pointing something out to you.

That's how I see it. Thoughts...

Cherie <> said...

We may do a lot of things with good intentions that offend another person because it's not what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear. Your friend may come around in time and admit that they were wrong and they needed to hear what you said, or if they let pride get in the way they may not...It's something you really can't let get you down, even though you are really close to this person.

I don't know you very well, but I believe that you would not confront a friend with the wrong intentions in your heart. And I think that when Jesus used the speck and plank analogy He most definitely was referring to someone who was confronting another with the wrong intentions. If your motive is pure, then God will honor what you do in love.

For now, I like Blake's suggestion of meeting with your friend again to discuss why they were offended by your comments. And you can pray for your friend, that God will help them see your motive is pure and that they will see what God was using you to tell them. Have faith Bethany, God knows your heart and your intentions :).

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