“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:41–42, NIV84)
OK, I’ll be the first to be honest here. I don’t like these verses. It is not that I don’t understand them, because I do. I don’t like these verses because they were spoken for me. It is easy for me to point out the errors of another person’s ways, but incredibly hard for me to admit my own at times. In these verses Jesus uses the amazing comparison of sawdust and a wood plank. He wonders how it is that we would even attempt to remove the sawdust out of another person’s eye before we took a plank out of our own. The answer? Because we do not see the plank in our own eye. We are so busy paying attention to the sawdust in the eyes of others that we fail to see the truth in our own lives. This lack of introspection, this other-orientation, is the way the Devil gets us away from focusing on our own spiritual needs.
It is vitally important that our spiritual journey remain intimately ours. We must grow in our relationship with Jesus. We must focus on our own spiritual walk before we focus on the walk of others. It is certainly right for us to help others remove the specks out of their spiritual walk, as long as we are doing the same in our own. So hear me clearly! Jesus is not saying to mind your own business and to not care about others. He is telling us to apply that same spiritual care to our own lives. He clearly states that we need to take care of our own issues first and then reach out to help our neighbors with theirs.
Let’s be certain that we are continuously tending to both our spiritual needs and the needs of others.