Thoughts of a Country Preacher

The Monday morning ruminations of a pastor.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Log

Matthew 7:3-5 3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

I’ll confess, I loved seminary at SBTS. I loved it for many reasons. Yes, I loved it for challenging my theology, and pushing me intellectually. But I also loved it because of the many fantastic men of God who challenged me spiritually, and as a result has changed my life for the better.

One of those men was Buddy Gray, pastor of Hunter Street Baptist Church, in Hoover AL. The first time I met Pastor Buddy, he gave a brief lecture to my Formations class. He talked a bit about family, and discussed how to apply the "log principle" to our families. He made the observation that a lot of times, whenever he gets upset over his wife about something, it is God’s way of pointing out a stronghold of sin in his own heart. So before getting angry with his wife over something, he checks his own heart – and usually he finds that same sin in his life.

Since this discussion, I’ve tried to apply the same principle to my own life, and have found that it works almost perfectly. For example: let’s say that I’m balancing our checkbook, and I start to think that my wife is being wasteful. Instead of getting upset at her, I stop and look over my own spending habits. 9 times out of 10, I’m the one being wasteful. If I think that my wife is being selfish, I look at my own life, and sure enough, I’m the selfish one.

Sometimes this even extends to my church family. I get frustrated because people are stuck in doing things the way they’re comfortable with. They demand their own way. They’re not "missional," and often seem to stand in the way of God’s work. But then after stepping back for a moment, I realize that first and foremost, these are all my own problems, not theirs.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I’ve had to wonder, why is this? Why is it that I see sin in other people’s lives so easily, but my own seems to be covered so well? I think the problem is that we can see other people’s sin because we are so familiar with it in our own lives. We can see through their justifications for it, and how they try to hide it because we have done all of that ourselves. Their sin is so easy for us to see because that same sin, though perhaps unacknowledged, is very close to our hearts. Those sins we see in others that make us the angriest make us angry because they reflect our sins and at some level convict us of our own heart condition.

So what sins of others make you the angriest? May I suggest taking some time and looking for that sin in your heart? If you can see their sin so easily, you should wonder what makes that sin stand out to you so plainly?


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