I was scrolling down my facebook feed, and all of a sudden, I wanted to change the décor in someone’s living space. The offense was in the background of the photo, on the wall. It hit me squarely. This needs to be fixed. I am like the fictitious perfectionist, Hercule Poirot. I can’t just leave a crooked picture, even if I’m in someone else’s house. (Actually, I have left them crooked a couple of times, when there was no way to straighten without getting caught. Oh, the agony!) In this case, the offending décor was two framed pictures, one on top of the other, not centered, and no space at all between them. I want to visit that place and set it right.
Right means my idea of right, which would be centered, probably on a smaller wall, and with enough space between top and bottom frame to make them look comfortable, probably at least one and a half to two inches.
I wonder how many of us have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) about other people’s spiritual lives. Unfortunately, I think we’re all guilty.
Did you ever:
- Repeatedly think about someone else’s sin—however great or small—over and over in your mind?
- Tell your friends how to improve their spiritual lives, who have exactly the same problem you have with yours?
- Obsess about offensive words said to you?
- Climb on a hobby horse about one spiritual issue?
- Judge someone else by your own high, perfect standards?
We have all done these things.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Luke 6:41)
My imagination goes wild with that verse. “Hey, Bro., stand still. I see this tiny little black speck in your eye.” Then, I turn around and look in the mirror. “Woah! A whole whoppin’ beam! How did that get there? I’m gonna need surgery!”
Why is it so much easier to see the mote than the beam?
We can see others’ faults way before our own. And, you know what? Probably more than 90% of the time, others’ lives and faults are none of our business. If we’re in church leadership, we may be called upon to counsel and encourage, and in that case, it is our business. But normally, the “motes” we see in others’ eyes aren’t.
What about the beam?
“That huge, heavy, railroad tie thing hanging out of my face?”
Maybe that would help, but you’ll need to see a doctor. No way am I moving that thing—even if I could.
The doctor says, “Beam-face, what seems to be the trouble?”
I point to the beam.
“Oh, you’ve been judging others again?”
“There’s only one cure for that.”
“Cut it out?”
“No. It’s inoperable.”
“So, Doctor, what’s the cure?”
“Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. You have to take it out yourself. Then, you’ll see just fine.”
I go home, look in the mirror of God’s Word, confess my sin of judging people through my obsessive-compulsive spiritual disorder, and I tug that huge, ugly hunk of wood out of my eye.
Voilà! I can see as clearly as if I were trying on new glasses for the first time.
“Thank you, Lord! And, help me remember this lesson.”
Straighten your own pictures. Space them the way you like. Let others hang theirs the way they want. It’s their house, after all.
We beam-faces have a lot to learn.