I love that quote by Lewis and feel it goes well with chapter 7. Whenever I have read Matthew 7:3-5 about the speck and the log, I seem to have mostly overlooked verse 5. “Then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
“According to the New Testament, we are meant to care so much for other people that we are willing to do all we can to remove from their eyes the specks that are marring their vision and hindering their blessing.” Unfortunately in the process, we tend to ignore the log blinding us. I have heard it said that whatever bothers you about another person is usually a characteristic you possess. Ouch! That is hard to accept, but often true. Roy says, “Every time we point one of our fingers at another and say, ‘it’s your fault,’ three of our fingers are pointing back at us.”
What is the log in our eye? Roy defines it as “simply our unloving reaction to the other person’s speck. Without a doubt, there is a wrong in the other person. But our reaction to that wrong is wrong too!”
“The first beginning of resentment is a log, as is also the first flicker of an unkind thought or the first suggestion of unloving criticism. Where that is so, it distorts our vision, and we shall never see our brothers and sisters as they really are – beloved of God.”
So many times we react out of habit, but each time we allow these fleshly reactions to dictate our response to difficult people or circumstances, we raise ourselves up a notch on the ladder of pride. Pride puffs up, but love edifies.“On our knees we must go with it to Calvary, see Jesus there and get a glimpse of what that sin cost Him. At His feet, we must repent of it, be broken afresh, and trust the Lord to cleanse it away in His precious blood and fill us with His love for that one – and He will, and does, if we will claim His promise.”
Roy mentioned in a previous chapter that one thing we all have in common is sin. In fact, we are sinners saved by grace! The beauty of brokenness is that it brings us to a place of humility. When we realize what we’re not compared to all that He is, we see people in a different light. Only when we let God get a hold of our prideful hearts and cleanse us from our fleshly reactions, can we be a real friend to others by pointing them to Jesus amid their struggles. No longer are we standing and pointing with a judgmental attitude, but brokenness brings us to ground level at the foot of the cross with our arm around our brother.
I loved the example of Nicholas of Basel crossing the Swiss Alps to visit the church of Dr. Johannes Tauler. “Said Nicholas, ‘You must die, Dr. Tauler! Before you can do your greatest work for God, the world, and this city, you must die to yourself, your gifts, your popularity, and even your own goodness, and when you have learned the full meaning of the cross, you will have a new power with God and man.”
“That humble challenge from an obscure Christian changed Dr. Tauler’s life. He did indeed learn to die, and he became one of the greatest factors that helped prepare the way for Luther and the Reformation.” What a beautiful picture of iron sharpening iron. When we are willing to be broken about the log in our own eye, God can use us to come alongside believers and encourage them in removing the speck in theirs. This in many ways is what the Holy Spirit does for us. He is the “Paraclete,” the Comforter, the One who pleads God’s cause with us” (CWSB, Zodhiates). He encourages and admonishes us to trust God in brokenness and repentance.
When we speak into another’s life, we must be sure God is leading us and speak the truth in love. “Let us not argue or press our point. Let us just say what God has told us to and leave it there. It is God’s work, not ours, to cause the other to see it. It takes time to be willing to bend the stiff-necked I.” Roy goes on to say that we must be willing to be challenged as well. “Let us take it in silence, thanking the other, and then go to God about it and ask Him.”
The ground is level at the foot of the cross! We need Jesus, and we need each other. What beautiful relationships we could have if we would but humble ourselves before Him while pointing others to Christ.
Chapter 7: Homework
Day 1: Log & Speck
- Read Matthew 7:1-2. What do you learn about judging and judgment?
- Read Matthew 7:3-5. Why do you think it’s easy to be judgmental when it comes to others’ sins, but lenient when it comes to our own?
- In Matthew 7:5, what does Jesus call the man who doesn’t see the log in his own eye while trying to get the speck out of his brother’s eye? How does being hypocritical and judgmental go together in this passage?
- Read Romans 2:1-2, and Romans 14:10-13. How do these verses relate to Matthew 7:1-5?
- Read Luke 18:9-14. Record what you learn about a self-righteous, judgmental attitude and a broken, humble attitude.
Day 2: Pride
- Read Romans 12:16. Record the commands in this verse.
- Read Galatians 6:3, How do we deceive ourselves?
- What does Proverbs 26:12 say about a man who is wise in his own eyes?
- Read Isaiah 14:12-15. How do you see a prideful heart in Lucifer?
- Read Ephesians 4:17-32. How can you see walking in the flesh as giving the devil an opportunity?
Day 3: Humility
- Read Philippians 2:3 and Romans 12:1-3. How do these verses compare with each other? What has to come first in Roman’s 12:1-2 before Romans 12:3 can be a part of our behavior?
- Read Titus 3:1-2. What do these verses encourage us to do? Why would we do these things according to Titus 3:3? What did the kindness of God do for us in verses 4-7?
- Based on the above verses in Titus, how does this encourage you to have a heart of humility toward others?
- What do you learn about humility in 1 Peter 5:5?
- Read 2 Timothy 2:24-26. How does Paul tell Timothy to correct those in opposition? What is the desired outcome?
Day 4: Exhort one another
- Read Hebrews 3:12-15. What do you learn about encouraging/exhorting?
- The word “exhort” is “parakaleo,” meaning “to aid, help, comfort and encourage.” It can also mean urging someone to do something. What does Paul exhort believers to do in the following verses? Romans 12:1-2 (hint – “urge”), Ephesians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12.
- The word “parakaleo” is directly related to the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. He is the Paraclete. Our flesh will always point out someone’s sin in a judgmental, condescending way. But the ministry of the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete demonstrates how God comes alongside us, encouraging us to repent.
- Read John 14:15-18. How does knowing the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete help you better understand the importance of our role of encouraging others in Christ?
Day 5: Admonish one another
- Read Ephesians 4:11-13. What is the purpose of the gifts given?
- Based on Ephesians 4:14, what is the result of being mature?
- Read Ephesians 4:15-16. How do you see speaking the truth in love as part of God’s plan for building up the body of Christ in love?
- Read Colossians 3:16. What commands are given? We’ve looked at this passage before, but notice the word “admonish.” The word is “noutheteo,” meaning “to caution or reprove gently; admonish or warn” (CWSB, Zodhiates). Based on this verse, how are we to admonish one another?
- As we close this week, read Psalm 51. I know we’ve seen it before in our homework, but I couldn’t help but bring it out again this week. Based on verses 12-13, what had to happen before David could teach transgressors God’s ways, and sinners be converted to God? (Hint: verses 1-12).
- So many times we get the order mixed up. Take a moment and pray right now that God would reveal the log in your eye. Remember that the Holy Spirit’s conviction never comes with condemnation, but only with hope. Allow your Paraclete to lead you to the cross in repentance now.
Please note that unless stated otherwise, all italicized quotes that are not directly cited from an author or Scripture are direct quotes from the book, The Calvary Road, by Roy Hession.