Encouragement for Today
“Specks” – Part 2
Susanne Scheppmann, Co-editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Matthew 7:3-5, “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, '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.” (NIV)
I looked aghast at my photograph. I blinked. Maybe something was stuck to my mono-vision contact again, which produced this red blur. I blinked again. No, there was definitely something on the photograph. I wiped it — hard. I stared at the 4x6 proof; I could still see the discoloration. I opened and closed my eye, one more time, but it was still there.
What caught my attention was the big rusty-red slab of lipstick smeared across my front teeth. This picture couldn’t be used on my business cards! I couldn’t believe the photographer hadn’t told me. All right, maybe he couldn’t spot it through the camera lens. However, I was with a group of businesswomen in
Then the snitty side of my personality seeped out. I hoped every blemish and wrinkle showed-up magnified on their photos.
“I will think kinder and gentler thoughts tomorrow,” I told myself.
Later that same day, I went out with some friends. I commiserated about the business photo. Then I confessed my opinions about the other women in the photography studio. One of my dearest friends, half-joking and half-serious, said, “Susanne, you’re just wrong on all levels.” She hit the nail right on the head — my head.
Specks of lipstick, specks of sin. Just as I couldn’t see the smudge of color on my teeth, I was blind to my own hurtful failings. I allowed my embarrassment and anger to assume the other women intentionally allowed me to be photographed with my teeth the color of red clay.
Suddenly, I realized Jesus could have been speaking to me when he chided the Pharisees. “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, '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 7:3-5, NIV) I needed to get the plank of anger out of my own eyes. I had no right to judge the other women.
As a Christian, I should know better, but I often fall into the criticism trap. The Holy Spirit reminds me of these words of Jesus, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV) I certainly do not want to be judged by my own harsh measure of judgment.
My sole contact lens sits in my left eye to give me clearer physical vision. I use wetting solution to wash physical debris from my eye. However, when I acquire the spiritual rubble of being judgmental, whether a speck or plank, I need to ask Jesus, the Living Water to wash my spiritual eyes clean.
So after asking for my own forgiveness, I chose to forgive and forget the lipstick debacle. Why? Because “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13, NIV) I know I certainly need more mercy than judgment in every area of my life. I want Jesus to wipe clean my “planks” of sinful attitudes.
However, the next time I have my picture taken, I will look in a mirror for any smears of lipstick on my teeth.
My Prayer for Today:
Jesus, wash the plank of judging others from my spiritual eyes. Please forgive me for being quick to judge others when I carry so many faults myself. Remind me on a daily basis that “Mercy triumphs over judgment” every time. In Your Precious Name, Amen.
Get a piece of 8x11 inch paper and then grab an old tube of lipstick. Write on the paper, “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” Now tape the paper in a prominent spot as a reminder to yourself and household to show mercy to each other.
Am I quick to judge others?
How often do I grant mercy when I have been wronged?
Whom do I judge critically the most often? (Husband, children, church, etc.)
James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (NIV)
Romans 2:1-3, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?” (NIV)
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)
James 2:13, “. . . Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (NIV)
30 Days to Taming Your Tongue, by Deborah Smith Pegues
Get Over It and On With It, by Michelle
The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Thursday, 26 January 2006.