Can you tell the difference between a log and speck?

Posted on · Posted in Communication, Wisdom

If you can’t tell the difference between a log and a speck you are a hypocrite. Well that sounds easy enough. Anybody can recognize a log, but you need a magnifying glass to find a speck. How dumb would I have to be to be a hypocrite? Do you really want to answer that question?

Imagine someone walking into a room, knocking over future and breaking windows with a log sticking out of his eye. Then after half of the furniture in the room has been destroyed the log-bearer announces that he has come to remove a speck from your own eye. Your immediate response would be to get this hypocrite out of your house before he destroys the rest of it. 

This is exactly the image that Jesus intends to portray when he says:

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5

Jesus’ choice of words is devastatingly brilliant.  A hypocrite causes upset wherever he goes. He is blind to what is painfully obvious to everyone else. He is using a magnifying glass when he should be using a mirror. If he used a mirror he would see the ugly log sticking out if his own eye. A hypocrite is blind to his own sins. Attempting to remove specks with your log firmly in place results in catastrophic relational damage. 

Those around you, those whom you love, all have specks that need to be removed. But first you must use the mirror of scripture to remove the log of hypocrisy from your eye. Removing a speck is a delicate operation that requires love and concern. There is nothing delicate or loving about a hypocrite. 

Ask others to show you to the mirror. Have the courage to ask those close to you help you find your logs. When you trust Christ this way good things will happen. One day someone you love will hand you a magnifying glass and say, “could you help me get this thing out of my eye, it is really bothering me.”

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.