The plank teaching…
Several cool translations: “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?
“And why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eyes, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
His Authority enters, when we allow Him to form Himself in the place of our own perceptual planks! It is not random, that Jesus is talking about “eyes” here. To be able to see ourselves, we must remove these planks in our eyes, and then, He starts to imply what we might offer to others- to be empowered to remove part of what obscures their vision.
He asks us, kindly, to remove these false filters of vision and sin, in His Power, so we can be helpful in removing the things in other’s eyes, we are allowed to see and cleanse, that they can see more clearly. I like the translation of plank as “log”, because the gravity and force to remove a log, takes more time and it infers more depth of self-insight. Once I remove this log-which is worth a lifetime of Jesus’ formation within me!- i am able to help others remove small twigs or branches, as I am led.
God started talking to me this week about this passage from Jesus’ teaching on removing the plank in our own eye (way of seeing or perceiving), before removing the speck in our brother or sister’s eye. We are challenged to remove the plank in our own eye, so we can be a blessing to others!
We are asked to judge ourselves at a “plank” level–deep insights into our own sin and blocks, and false vision–even areas where we see falsely because we could not see ourselves; and YET, even when it is removed, we are only requested to remove “specks” in other’s eyes. This keeps us humble in assisting others, but challenged in clearing a space for His Formation within us!
There is a word here about judgement and its laws or how it works. Jesus said, first remove this plank in your own eye, which He will give you insight to do; then you will be able to remove specks in other’s eyes. Judgment begins with ourselves, and His Pleasure is to remove entire planks in our sight and eyes. And then to allow us to help others remove specks in theirs. To the degree He has “taken land”, and vistas in us, we will be able to take land and landscape in others.
Often we reverse this, and try to remove planks in others eyes and specks in our own. But His Way is to allow us to remove huge blocks of vision in our own lives, and then maybe to remove some small false filters in other’s lives. It is God’s way to begin in us, whatever we minister outwards to others. We can only help others to the degree we have allowed Him to form this area of Himself in us. Our first job is always to judge our own house, and to allow Him to give us self discernment; then if He desires, He may allow us to minister this outwards to others.
This “plank” level means we are given Grace to remove huge sins and blocks in our own lives, and then if He wishes, to help others remove specks in theirs. It’s not that we can’t help others move large stones in their lives, but we start with allowing Him to roll away our own stones, and then if He allows us to help other’s with theirs, fantastic!
But judge ourselves first. Judgement begins with the house of God. The self is often symbolized as a house. Start here Lord with me. Come humbly and correct ourselves, so that He will not have to remove that plank as He did with Paul. It is painful to go entirely blind. He would desire that we remove our own planks in His Power-rather than Him having to yank them out. And then, as He is formed in that area, to be helpful in ministering that part of Him to others!
Another hope point in this, is that Paul continues to remove quite a few specks in the church’s lens throughout her history! So once, that plank was removed, there was a humility and grace to truly serve the whole, and the church got a ravishingly accurate vision of her future!