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Of splinters and logs

October 16, 2023

Daily Scripture

Matthew 7:1-6

1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? 5 You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. 6 Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will stomp on the pearls, then turn around and attack you.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus said, “Don’t judge.” He did not mean we should not do the necessary work of evaluating people’s actions carefully, especially if they are harmful. (Verse 6 made it clear that Jesus did not call anyone to be naïve or accept abusive actions.) He did mean we should hold our opinions humbly and remember that we too fall short of how God calls us to live. Humility also requires us to admit we often don’t know the entire story. Ultimately God, not us, is the all-knowing judge.

  • “This graphic, hyperbolic image would likely draw laughter—and provoke thought. If a splinter endangered a person with blindness, how much more did a roof beam?” * We mustn’t let an overly somber view of Jesus keep us from noticing his use of an absurd image to point out the serious danger of someone ignoring their own flaws to nitpick someone else’s small issues. How can Jesus’ word picture keep you from trying to do God’s job in passing judgment on other people?
  • Differences (not what you have in common) bring conflict with a mate, friends, or family members. If you’ve fallen into what many counselors call “negative focus” (seeing only flaws, ignoring real strengths), what steps can help restore relationship health? “In the same way we are not to judge others harshly, we are to remove ourselves from relationships in which we are judged harshly.” ** What can make it important for you to remove yourself from someone else’s harsh judgment?

Lord Jesus, keep me healthily aware of my strengths while still being able to “take the log out of [my] eye” before trying to correct or “improve” others. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Karra Karst

Karra Karst

Karra Karst serves as a Mission Engagement Specialist at Resurrection Leawood. When not at work, you can find her adventuring with her husband, Stephen, and dog, Rosey. She enjoys a good joke as much as she does her daily iced latte.

I can always tell when I’ve been on social media too much because I start to experience some deep paranoia. It usually begins the same way: Whether conscious or subconscious, it causes me to notice the little things too much. I see someone’s completely clean house with the most updated decorations. I see someone’s family at the pumpkin patch with perfectly matching outfits and smiling faces. I read how someone shares the most heartfelt reflection about a recent event. Suddenly I am upset about these perfectly good things. Why is that? Comparison is such a thief of joy. My house is clean, but it has that one room (you know what room I mean because we all have one). When we went to the pumpkin patch it was freezing and we were not smiling except for a photo. I could reflect on something good in my life, but it’s been a long day, and I just don’t want to be happy right now. So, I compare myself to what I see, and I am judgmental of them rather than owning my own feelings. The more I do this, the more I begin to think people are doing this to me. Suddenly I find myself convinced that I need to sell all my home decor, never leave the house and nothing ever good happens to me like it does to everyone else. 

If I am honest, my most recent judgments have actually been my personal inadequacies being projected onto someone else. We all have those people that are a ‘square’ to your ’round’ personality–perhaps you just don’t vibe or maybe they have qualities that you wish you did. It is so easy in those moments to mentally make a list of all the reasons why they are different from you, but it’s harder to recognizing that the judgments are just flimsy ways we protect ourselves from the deeper issue. When I think of that girl who messes up constantly and can be the WORST sometimes, I remember that it’s me. Grace grows when it’s been extended to you. 

You might have a way to combat this, but for me, I pretend I am my counselor (Bill is the best, by the way) and begin asking curious questions: What am I feeling? When did this begin? When did I notice it? What emotion did I feel when it happened? How can I honor my feelings without involving the other person? What will it look like to move forward? You get the idea.

My friend Shannon Starek, a coworker and one of our lovely pastors here, introduced me to author and artist Scott Erickson. At his event, he spoke about the line “I’m on my way” stating, “I’m on my way” means if I fail at something, it’s not evidence to an argument that I’m a failure. It just means I’m on my way… I’m learning as I go.” Whether you incorporate this into your life, about yourself or if you hear a judgment about someone else, you can meet it with: “We are all on our way.” 

I’m out here trying my best and I see that you are too. We are all on our way.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Comment on Matthew 7:1-3 in NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (p. 8439). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
** Danielle Shroyer, reflection on Matthew 7 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1221.