I found a plank in my eye today.
How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Luke 6:42
After my midlife crisis post about the tattoo that I recently got to celebrate being brave, I got a note from a friend that was very interested in getting a tattoo herself. She told me that she was being a wimp though because she was too afraid of what other people would think about it. I thought to myself “that is so crazy.” Why on earth would she be so concerned about what others thought of her getting a tattoo? I just didn’t get it. There were several reasons why it took me so long to get a tattoo, but being concerned about what other people thought did not even make the list.
I have no idea what the underlying reason is that is causing my friend to feel this way, and I am, by no means, trying to analyze her heart. But her comment was so thought provoking that it ended up taking me into the depths my own heart.
I don’t care worth a hoot what other people think about my awesome tattoo, but the truth is, there are plenty of other things that stop me dead in my tracks because I am too concerned about what others are going to think of me.
I won’t write every day, or finish projects that I want to publish because I’m afraid that others will think I am a terrible writer and I have less than stellar grammar skills.
I won’t give people compliments because I’m afraid that coming from me they will mean nothing.
I won’t tell you what I really think because I’m afraid I may come across as ignorant or too emotional.
I won’t reach out to you and be a good friend because I’m afraid that you are not interested.
I work overtime looking for cute clothes that ma disguise how fat I look.
I work so I can buy cute clothes.
I wear make-up because I don’t want to look like a slob.
I’m nervous when you are around my children and me. What if they mess up and make me look bad?
The list is longer. I need to stop here.
Then, the truth hit me like a big heavy plank on the head.
Your speck is nothing but a chip that came straight from my own plank. You see, the insecurities that we worry about the most are the very things that we are critical and judgmental about with other people.
When I read your work I’m critical and wonder why you would even bother pushing the publish button. Just keep it to yourself (like I do). Or, you write so well that I am afraid of you and I believe that you are judging me like I judge others.
When you compliment me I secretly think I’m better than you.
When I hear you speak your mind, I don’t always listen because I’m busy trying to find a flaw so I can be right and you wrong. I want to be smarter than you.
I don’t really know if I want to be your friend, you may be too high maintenance, just like me.
You look fat in that.
You really should take better care of yourself.
When I’m around your children, I’m judging you as a mother.
Yuck… Did I just say that out loud?
We want to be accepted and loved for who we are. We don’t want to be judged. Yet this is how we spend out time. Hating, envying and judging.
There is a master engineer that is an expert plank remover, bolder remover, even speck remover. He has also been known to pry stones out of ones hands.
As we learn to accept the no-strings-attached, unconditional love of this master, we will become better no-strings-attached lovers ourselves. Our planks will begin to fall. And as if they were magnets, the specks of others will magically cling to them and go away.
Next time you notice someone’s speck, ask yourself this question: Did that speck come from my own plank? Am I just looking into a mirror that is reflecting my own insecurities and shortcomings?
As I continue to embrace this master and my planks fall, and the specks disappear
I will read your work and appreciate God’s creative beauty, I will also believe in my own.
I will give you a compliment because I love you. You are a beautiful creation of His hands. What I’m really doing is giving him a compliment. Therefore, when you give me one, I can honestly be grateful to receive the compliment of the work of his hands.
I will listen and respect your thoughts and opinions. I will learn from you.
I will be a true friend.
I will enjoy your beauty and God’s perfect creative work through you.
I will love you, hold your hand, and let you hold mine through this joyous and difficult journey of motherhood.
We are all in this together. There is one who can keep our eyes clear, clean and beautiful.