Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? 

Having read this verse, are you tempted to check the mirror for your own “wooden beam”? We all have one—or maybe two or three. Maybe it’s bitterness, resentment, or a grudge. Maybe it’s a critical spirit or a natural bent toward negativity. No matter what it is, it’s weighty. And Jesus says that if we don’t recognize that plank in our own eye, we really shouldn’t try to remove the “splinter” in someone else’s eye.

Why? Because Jesus wants us to be able to bless each other, but it’s hard to do that when our vision is obstructed by our sin—or by a lack of awareness of our sin. And so he tells us to remove whatever may be getting in our way.

That might seem impossible at times. But the Holy Spirit, who knows you through and through, can help you remove your wooden beams, even if they seem especially heavy. Sometimes he will bring those beams into sharp relief during your day. Or he might help you recognize some negative tendency in the way you relate to people and give you clarity on where you need his help to change.

So if you notice times that you’re being overly critical or impatient, take it to the Lord. Ask the Spirit to help you remove that beam as you sit quietly in prayer. Listen for thoughts that help you understand why you might be thinking or acting that way. Jot down those thoughts and ask the Spirit to help you correct them. Maybe discuss them with a trusted friend or even bring them to Confession. Do whatever you think will help you remove that wooden beam.

If God shows you a beam, he will help you to remove it in the most encouraging way possible. And that’s how he wants you to respond when you see a splinter in another person’s eye. A heart that wants to help others is a blessing from the Lord, but it comes with responsibility: to see as he sees and to love as he loves.

“Holy Spirit, remove the beam in my eye today so that I might build up the body of Christ.”

1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11
Luke 6:39-42


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