July 25 I Monday

Psalms 37-39

Acts 26



“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 7:4-5


Did we notice from the opening verse of this devotion that Jesus’s imagery of the plank and the speck does not mean we should only focus on removing our plank? There is an order. We begin by examining ourselves, taking the plank out of our own eye; this will require us to exercise an inordinate amount of judgment towards ourselves. When we have been set free and healed by Christ, we will see carefully and know what it is to be on the receiving end of mercy, grace and compassion. Then, we can take that little speck of sawdust out of our brother or sister’s eye.

       Embedded in Jesus’s metaphor is held a deeper meaning. Think for a moment, how would we go about removing a speck of sawdust from someone’s eye? As difficult and delicate as the task may be, we would probably approach it very gently and carefully with compassion. Similarly, Jesus is communicating this message to His church. When we speak into the life of another, we should be gentle and careful about it. 

       Paul talks about this posture being a part of our lives when we speak into the lives of others. In Galatians 6:1, he writes, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Did we notice Paul’s choice of wording, “If someone is caught in a sin?” When a mouse or any other animal is caught in a trap, it cannot remove itself or get free under its own capacity. It requires the help from an outside source. Sometimes when we go to help an animal that is caught in a trap and are trying to compassionately help it, it does not know that; and instead, it bites at us while we are trying to set it free from whatever is holding it in place. Even as we go about trying to help someone be free in Christ, recognize that even when we are helping, they might bite at us because they are hurting and afraid. Yet, the law of Christ, the evidence of His rule and reign in our lives, is that we are people who seek to restore one another back to health gently.

       Paul tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). We are people who carry one another’s burdens, and seek to heal those who are caught, weighed down or hurting in sin. It is with a posture of humility that we call people back to life in Christ. 

Prayer: Gracious Lord Jesus, thank You for freeing me from the plank in my eye. Guide me in Your love and gentleness to help restore my brothers and sisters to a right relationship with You. 

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