Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Live is Christ — needing to see clearly

My devotional reading focuses on a verse from Matthew about judging others. It says: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

Yesterday’s time studying this verse raised two questions. The first was this: can I teach from my mistakes? In other words, if the log is out of my eye, does my initial error disqualify me from helping those who struggle with specks?

The second was this: can I teach in an area where my experience is limited? Is this lack in me actually a “log” or is it more like “one person cannot do everything”?

This morning the Lord answered both of them by directing me to the same narrative about judging and logs in my eye, this time in Luke. 

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:40–42)
Yes, I can teach from my mistakes, but only teach what I did right. That is, if I recognized my sin and confessed that to God with a repentant heart, I can teach others about confession and repentance. I can encourage them that no matter what mistakes they have made, God is merciful.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
The second answer is that even if a teacher has limited experience in something like evangelism, or giving, or serving or whatever ministry others need to learn, they will still learn something. They may not grow beyond the teacher, but at least will grow. My devotional reading says, “You can only lead others as close to God as you are at the moment.” Jesus says that “full training” will bring others to the place where their teacher is, and if that is closer to God than they were before being taught, why not?

The important part of all of this is to keep my own life right with God. If I’m blinded by a sin, it will prevent me from helping anyone who is also blinded by sin, the same one or otherwise. I need continual encouragement to recognize and confess my sins to God. Sadly, that recognition often comes by first seeing the sin in the life of someone else.

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