..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Considering the Beam

"And why beholdest the splinter that is
in thy brother's eye, but considerest
not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
(Matthew 7:3).

I like the fact that when you read the
words of Jesus, you often find a penetrating
irony there. At the heart of Jesus'
teaching we see that Christ most
assuredly tell us not to judge others,
not because things don't need
judging, but because our eye condition,
mainly the fact that something quite
large is clouding our vision, causes
us to be unable to see clearly.

Jesus teaches us to put the shortcomings
of others in their proper perspective.
How is it that we notice the smallest
problem in another but do not see the
very large problem in ourself?

We see the speck in our neighbor's eye,
but fail to consider that there is a
massive beam in our own. He gently
reminds us that we fail to "consider"
what is wrong in our own heart. "Consider"
has that well pondered, well acknowledged
kind of feel to it. The kind of consider
that those who wanted to cast the first
stone at the woman caught in adultery were
forced to do when Jesus started
writing their sins down for them.

They had "forgotten" to consider and
Jesus was just "helping" them along
in that regard. Dear Lord, there is
so much we need to consider. 70 x 7
times a day kind of consider. Danger
of hellfire kind of consider. Standing
before the judgment seat of Christ
kind of consider. Making an absolute
fool out of myself kind of consider.

I don't mean rehearsing your sins
and falsely lamenting about how
bad you are. I don't mean dwelling
on things that God has forgiven you
for. Just a good healthy consider
to put things in their proper perspective.
It shouldn't take too long before
you slip into a well-considered silence.

We are all helplessly, hopelessly weak
without God. We are all, even at our
strongest points, genuinely broken. No
matter how much healing the Lord has done
in us, the door still squeaks. At best
we are wounded healers. Jesus is trying to bring
us together under one roof as children of
God; children who love each other no matter
what, children who know how to love
much because they have been forgiven

The really embarrassing truth is
that our shortcomings are out
there for everyone to see. We are
the ones, the embarrassingly last ones,
who usually fail to see our greatest
flaws. But what if we were meant
to help each other instead of
judge each other?

A graceful community knows
how to help each of its members, from the
alleged small to the alleged great, clear both
speck and log from their eyes. We are meant to
do that as a community of the forgiven, knowing
that, for better or for worse, how you deal with
me, is probably how I'm going to deal with you,
with God watching the whole time.

There is balance and healing and a whole
eye in the community of God when she is
healthy. Not one of us can see everything,
we must look and see and discern together,
with each bringing what he has. If you
haven't been hit by this revelation in
its practical chaotic working, let me
inform you that God has made each of us
wildly different!

Paul says, "For who has made you to differ
from another? and what do you have that you
did not receive? now if it was received,
why do you glory, as if it had not been
received?" (1 Cor. 4:7). All that we are
is a gift given by God. We cannot then
use it to judge others, we must use it
to help others.

There is the old story of the Emperor who
Had No Clothes. Everyone could see his
nakedness, but pretended that he was royally
dressed because it would have been too chancy, too
politically incorrect, too dangerous, to say

The truth is, we are all naked emperors,
and our job, to each other, is to help
cover our individual and corporate nakedness,
not with dysfunctional lies of false pretense, nor
with the deceitfulness of sin's false cloak,
but with the righteous robes of healing, love,
and the fear of God.

How sad we will all feel when we see how
much healing was out there for all of us
that we failed to avail ourselves of or
failed to work together toward. We cannot
get there by ourselves.

It is very hard to "consider the beam"
outside a healthy community of faith.
Self-deceit is too greatly embedded in
us all. It is too easy to let ourselves
off the hook if we are doing the self-inspecting.

We must allow God into the consideration
process, but we must also consider that
the Body of Christ is meant to be a place
where you can LOVINGLY help me see my
reflection and urge me to make those necessary
changes that will make me look more
like Christ. If the body is sick,
then that process is not possible,
and much is lost. Sadly, much has
been lost, so much so that there is
often more dis-ease than healing in the

I'm not saying that there are easy
answers or that any of us
will ever get there, but I still
hold it up as God's best way.
If this kind of healing and
accountability is not available to you
on a large scale, then ask God
to make it available to you on a
small scale. Start with one person
you trust.

Let us not lose sight of the fact
that mutual healing, the wisdom born
out of diverse people choosing to give
what they have, choosing to love, and
be loved, to change and be changed, is
what God wants for us. Feeling that
is an impossible task does not let
me off the hook, for here I stand,
broken, weak, bleeding, and in need
of one of the passersby on the road
to be as a good Samaritan to me. Feeling
that it is too risky does not negate
my charge to stop and aid others that are
likewise bleeding and broken.

The Word and call of God stand no matter
what. What we do with them determines
our individual and corporate destiny.
Consider the beam. Consider love.
Consider change. Consider the glory of God.
Oh, if only we could see what we could
be together.

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