Over the last year my husband has been finishing our basement. The framing, dry walling, and tiling produced more dust than I was prepared for. The dust floated and fluttered all of the way to our second floor.
Dust travels. It spreads. There was nothing in the house that was untouched by the dust. Every piece of furniture, every picture frame, covered. Even the walls were coated.
As I thought about how I was going to clean away all of the dust from everywhere and everything it reminded me of how sin is in our world. Sin can cover over our lives like a layer of dust, infiltrating the small unsuspecting nooks and crannies. We walk through this life always under construction, always with room for growth. We are all a little dusty with sin.
It is interesting how much easier it is for us to see the dust on someone else than it is to recognize our own dustiness. In Matthew 7, Jesus presents a truth about the reality of our sin that can be hard to swallow.
"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: 3-5 NIV)
In essence, we like the power trip we get when we tell other people about the stain on their shirt. Yet as we point out their stain we speak with a whole salad worth of spinach stuck in our teeth. Why is it so easy to see the sin in other people? And why is it often hard to see our own sin? Why do we feel like it is our job to be the judge and juror others and forget we are still sinful?
In Matthew 7:2, right before Jesus gives the example of condemning the brother with the speck of sawdust in his eye he tells us, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use it, it will be measured to you."
I don't know about you, but when I read this verse its as if the saw blade cuts right through my core. I am quick to judge. I am quick to point out the flaws in others. And while I am giving my self righteous opinion, the judging plank in my own eye grows like Pinocchio's lying nose.
Those, like me, who have been walking in relationship with Christ for a while fall into a trap of thinking we "know" God and his commands so well that He gives us the authority to judge others in his stead. I am pretty certain though He wouldn't give flawed sinners like ourselves that job post. We forget, don't we? We are still under construction, too!
God and God alone is the righteous judge. Take a look around you today and take note. Who have you been judging? Who have you been holding to a higher standard than you have for yourself? Who have you expected grace from but not been willing to give grace to?Ask God to reveal in you today where the dust of sin has settled and caused a critical plank to grow in you.