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I would like to begin by putting myself on blast. That’s the best way to start anything right? When I was in middle school I was probably one of the most judgmental little sixth graders you’d ever meet. I was always outraged to hear that my friends had done something like smoke a cigarette, or go a little too far with a boy. Not only did they have to deal with me ranting and raving about them going to hell with gasoline underwear on, but they also had to suffer through my disappointment in them because they behaved in a way that was not considered appropriate by me. It didn’t take long for me to discover that this was the fastest way to lose all of your friends! Worse than losing friends, I left them with a horrible taste in their mouth for anyone who claimed to be a “Christian”. They probably walked away thinking, “Where is the love?” and also feeling as if they could never measure up.
Please don’t get it twisted there is absolutely a time and a place to let people know the truth. However, I’ve had to learn the hard way that if a person walks away feeling wounded not by what you said, but by you personally, you have completely failed at delivering this truth in love. Real truth should provoke conviction in the heart and change in actions. That’s a total sidebar. I had a scenario where someone expressed their observation of the foul body odor of the person standing next to them. Nose turned up in repulsion, face scrunched in disgust, head shaking back and forth in disbelief, they leaned over to me and asked me if I smelled it too. Attempting to whisper so as not to offend, I was nearly taken out of this world with the rancid aroma of this person’s breath. That’s right, the person making a huge deal about and drawing attention to someone’s body odor, was suffering from an awful case of halitosis.
Matthew 7:3-5, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” I thought to myself moments later, “Isn’t this just like the Church today?” Everyone is so focused on the stench of others that they can’t begin to fathom or perceive their own. In Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus is teaching on basic rules to live by like how to think, how to pray, and how to treat each other. We must first learn to address our own issues before we can ever lend a hand to another suffering brother or sister. We need to serve God with a humble heart that doesn’t say that we’re better than anyone, but rather grab hands and seek to remove the specks and planks together.