Specks and Logs & Dogs and Hogs

“And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Matthew 7:3
(Read Matthew 7:1-6)

How about a collective {{{OUCH!}}} to either speck or log removal operations? It’s never, no not ever, easy. They are both painful in degree to the extent of the infectious aggravation they have stirred up; and this is akin to the length and depth of the embedment. A speck in the eye may be perceived as, and irritates about as much as… a tree branch in the eye. Or as a grappling hook. Functionally, there is NO DIFFERENCE in the necessity and difficulty of removal of either. I have never experienced a small or insignificant eye irritant. It never stops its relentless pursuit of demanding the right to be noticed and its need to be dealt with. The price of removal always necessitates some probing of the eye. Right. A good eye probing. Where does that line start?

So let us be clear… so we can see clearly and know fully… as we are fully known. (How remarkably Biblical sounding.) “Speck removal” and “logging operations” are needed ministries. They are commanded duties. You ARE a righteous judge commissioned by the Almighty as a child of light to reestablish sight to the impaired and light to the grossly blind.  The required precursor is a self-logging operation of sorts. That’s ok and expected; we all have those cursed blind spots. Deal with eye-log issues, and then give your brother relief. Don’t pretend you can see until you have peered into the mirror of the perfect Law of Liberty and then you find help to see by His Light, and then you can safely perform the surgical intervention required. Furthermore, our sins ought to always be greater in our eyes, (the “log” so to speak), than any other sin anywhere else in all of the inhabited world, because they are MY SINS.

“Physician, first heal thyself.”

Maybe my point is that a log in the eye does not disqualify you from being a healer of others. “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Personal logging operations can actually increase experiential qualifications and assist us to identify with others in a more understanding, loving, and comforting manner. We all need a “Nathan” now and again. And no, you nor I are ever exempt from righteous self and “other” examination. The Lord Jesus is here instructing us to first be a Nathan unto ourselves, then proceed cautiously and wisely to the needy ensnared brother we encounter.

My Skoal Story as an example.

I fought to quit tobacco products for years, NOT because I was convinced “a pinch between the gum and cheek” was wrong, but rather I was struggling with issues such as addictions, bondages, the stewardship matter ($5/can), and my pursuit of being a good example to my boys and others. And then for whatever reason, one day God showed up after I had tried and failed to quit at least 5653 times in the past. And I walked away from it. God did that. I didn’t. He did something, but I am not sure what it was. So the “log” of tobacco I removed and escaped helps me to encourage and not badger my patients and prisoners who struggle with addictions that are consuming the precious gift of life God gave them. Meth is the worst. What kind of hell-drug is that? …stirred up and cooked in your own kitchen. SMH to any who invite this Devil indoors, because he will steal, kill, and ravage you. But I understand. The enemy is crafty and he knows our propensity of weakness and sin. And no, I don’t think tobacco or alcohol products are intrinsically wrong. We are not legalists in the Vining household. There is liberty in all things declared clean by the redemptive  work of God in Christ. That’s not what we are talking about here. We are targeting real sins that keep you from the blessing and presence of the King. Now, I do think there are better and best choices in the exercise of liberties… Read it as you will.

Now. Back to Logging.

The guy you meet with no hand or with missing digits… he didn’t get that by picking his teeth.

I am country enough to know that real logging operations can be costly and very very unforgiving. The guy you meet with no hand or with missing digits… he didn’t get that by picking his teeth. He likely made a mistake or was the victim of a terrible accident. Most accidents equal somebody did something really stupid. Most. My point is, when we judge others in our world today, even after judging ourselves rightly, we will find a high percentage who will respond as the fool set upon his own path of destruction. He will not applaud you, and will likely misrepresent you and your intent. The next thing Jesus discusses in this section is to not cast pearls before swine, or give what is holy to dogs. Rutrow. Deal with that as you will. He said it and we must wisely act upon it. There is inherent danger here. “They will tear you to pieces.” The goal of being holy is to be like and to please our Heavenly Father. It will never receive man’s approval or accolades. They sell that somewhere else, but not in the Gospel of Grace store where all is free.

And finally.

Just remember who told us about logs and specks, of dogs and swine. What did we do to Him? What did He do for us “for the joy set before Him”?

Galatians 6:1-3
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

Frankly, I always hate these types of talks. It makes me feel grossly less than I ought to be, and more like I really know myself to be. Horrors! I think I struggle with “survivor’s guilt” of a sort because of my wicked past, and now God’s abundant mercy. Who do I think I am? You know, that sort of accusation. And then I remember we all have feet of clay. May God help us to remain pliable so that He may form us as He will, and unto vessels of glory. After all is said and done, “God has chosen the foolish things to shame the wise.” Ain’t it the truth?