Nine years ago today, a cruise ship ran aground after hitting rocks and a sandbar off a small Italian island. According to the vessel’s owner, the captain “made an unapproved, unauthorized deviation in course.” Sadly, many people lost their lives, and the captain was found guilty of manslaughter because of his negligence. While it may seem obvious to us that the captain was at fault, we too often fail to see the dangers in front of us. We can all benefit from a new way to see.
Our text today is a parable we often learn as children in Sunday School. Jesus was teaching His listeners that they are to look to the Lord for direction and not to one another (v. 39). Then he tackled a sticky issue that is also prevalent today: hypocrisy. How do we judge others? To illustrate His point, Jesus used first-century humor, painting a picture of someone who points out a small piece of sawdust in another person’s eye, while having a large plank in his own eye (v. 41). In other words, we are far more tolerant and accepting of our own sin than we are of others.
When we dismiss our own sins and are quick to call out the sins in other people, Jesus calls us a “hypocrite” (v. 42). While it can be good to help our neighbor recognize the sin in his or her life, Jesus challenges us to deal with our sin first. This calls for a time of self-examination, confessing our own sins before God. When we are able to see clearly, it will help us traverse the waters of this world, and help us save other lost souls along the way.
>> Spend some time today examining your life. Do you have a “plank” in your eye that you are disregarding? Ask God to give you the strength to see your own sins clearly so you can help others.