A Prayer About My Plank-Filled Eye
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Dear Jesus, when I rubbed my irritated eyes this morning I soon realized it wasn’t a speck of dust, but a ruff hewn board stuck there. I didn’t realize it till now, but I’ve been walking around the past several days like a chief prosecuting attorney in the supreme court—the judge and jury, as well as an executioner. Just because I don’t throw things, scream and yell, doesn’t mean I’m not a critical person. Condescending smugness is just a synonym for clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13).
Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus. You are so forbearing, kind and gracious… have mercy on me, the self-righteous sinner.
My self-righteousness usually doesn’t show up in trying to merit more of your love but in withholding your love from others. The dark irony is, the sins that offend me most in others are the very sins most pronounced in my own life—a lack of mercy, rigidity, unbelief, a critical spirit… I wish those were the only ones.
Jesus, as cardiologist and ophthalmologist, bring your grace and truth to bear in my heart and my eyes today. I want to love as you love, and see as you see. Teach me and lead me in the third way—the way of the gospel.
Make it very clear, uncomfortably and unavoidably clear, Jesus: To whom would you send me today as an agent/ambassador of your reconciliation… not to be right, but to make things right? Who has something against me that I need to approach? Who are those towards whom I am harboring unforgiveness… even bitterness? It’s messy, but that’s what your mercies are for.
Since you do call us to help one another with our “specks of sawdust,” help me be a first-responder to the life-giving rebukes of friends… a humble recipient of the feedback and reproof of those who long for my freedom… someone who gives myself daily, evenly hourly, to the ministry of reconciliation. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ gracious name.