A Prayer for Owning 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.” Matt. 7:1-5
Dear Lord Jesus, when I rubbed my irritated eyes this morning, I soon realized it wasn’t a speck of dust, but a rough-hewn board stuck there. I didn’t realize it till now, but I went to bed last night having made myself the chief prosecuting attorney of the Supreme Court—the judge, jury, and executioner or people who irritate me.
Just because I’m not a screamer or yeller, doesn’t mean I’m not quite capable of being critical and cynical. Condescending smugness is just a synonym for clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1). 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 shows up, not in trying to merit more of your love, but in withholding your compassion and kindness from others. Through I struggled with Spanish, I’ve mastered the body language of irritation and impatience. The irony is that the sins that offend me most in others are the very sins most pronounced in my own life—a lack of mercy, unbelief, a critical spirit… I wish those were the only ones. I humble myself and repent.
Lord Jesus, as Chief cardiologist and ophthalmologist, bring your grace and truth to bear in my heart and my eyes. I want to love as you love and see in others what you see. And I don’t want people to feel pressure to change who they’re around me; neither do I want them to feel my indifference and disengagement. Teach me and lead me in the third way, in all of my relationships—the way of the gospel.
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 friends give me—a humble recipient of the feedback and reproof of those who long for my freedom and Christlikeness. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.