Imagine you are walking with a friend and get something in your eye. You blink and gently rub to try to get it out. No matter what you try, you just can’t seem to fish it out. Your friend offers to help, but remembers she doesn’t have her specs (glasses) with her.
Jesus presents a similar scenario in Matthew 7:3-5.
There is a speck in an eye. One who cares, a friend in faith, comes to address it, but needs to adjust their vision before helping. Jesus teaches we need to remove the log from our eye before assisting with the speck. We are encouraged to adjust our own vision so that we may “see clearly” (v 5). This means correcting our perspective with proper humility, honesty and grace, before addressing someone else’s faults and failings. This ensures we are not hyper-critical or judgmental.
While we grasp the central teaching of this passage, we are prone to push it beyond its intent and hear a call to ignore anyone else’s speck all together.
In our discomfort with discernment and accountability, we miss how the teaching ends: “then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Jesus teaches both the log and the speck are not good things and both need to be addressed. This guards against callous indifference.
When we get something in our eye, we need someone trusted with correct vision to help us. In the Christian life, we need someone trusted with proper perspective and spirit to help us address our shortcomings and grow in faith.
Rizer is the minister at Living Hope Evangelical Church and can be contacted at LivingHopeEC.org.