Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Plank and the Speck
First, some random notes:
1- The birds are emptying my feeder at an alarming rate! Their calorie intake is on the verge of exceeding my budgetary output for black oil sunflower seeds. But it’s so cold outside; they need the fuel just to keep their little cold blooded selves going…
2- David John Smith is rocking the funhouse with his states and capitals memorization, and he can tell you the first 16 presidents. Won't get him a high paying job, but it's fun. In addition, when we went to Dr. Kari for his physical today, I was unsolicitously informed by 3 people that my baby is now taller than me. Thanks, I got it.
3- Smitty turns 50 on January 31! Fine looking fellow, isn’t he? Of course, he’s one of those people who neither looks nor acts his age (in a good way!) On his 49th birthday he couldn’t walk. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about see that other blog notated on the sidebar to the lower right). Now he’s working out (at 5:30 am!) an hour a day. What a chap! (I prefer the electric blanket workout.)
4- I will see the positive side of winter, I will see the positive side of winter, I will see the positive side of winter…no…bugs!
5- I had everything timed out today, everything planned…then, the cat threw up on my bed. “Man makes his plans but God orders his steps…”
Hope all of you are noticing the beautiful quality of winter’s light and eating pot roasts and potato corn chowders and chili. I am on record as saying February is the nadir month, the shortest, longest month of all, trying to make us happy with Valentine’s Day, but that’s really false dice. It’s cold. It’s gray. And snowmen are losing their appeal. I’m really making an effort not to complain, because it doesn’t help. And I’m looking for the lovely in the tundra: the Technicolor red cardinal on the bare branch, the rosy cheeks of my kids coming in from outside, the wonderful smell in my front yard while a fire burns in the fireplace. Help me out friends. Send me some good things about winter. If you don’t like to comment, just email me.
Here’s something I noticed in the Book the other day that I’ve been pondering. Good for any season…
“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. Mt. 7:3-5
Think about how you deal with a grain of dirt in someone’s eye. How carefully you take that thing out. How gently you perform that delicate operation. After we’ve dealt forcefully with our own sins (you can’t remove a plank delicately), then we’re in the right spiritual place to help someone with theirs. Gingerly. Tenderly. With all the compassion of someone who knows the aggravation and heartache poor choices bring. (It takes a long time for a speck to turn into a plank). So often Christians are accused of being judgmental. And so often they can be. But Jesus was not so (even though He is the only righteous judge!). He was brutally honest about the need to root out sin in ourselves because He knows the darkness into which it will inevitably land us. But His command to us toward others is always “hate the sin” (it’s a destroyer), “love the sinner” (because God does). That picture of someone removing a speck from someone’s eye says it all. Go easy. Be kind. Remove to rescue, not to harm.
Feed the birdies this week. They like stale bagels.
Your friend on the pilgrim road,