4/2/2020 – The Parable of the Speck and the Log
Passage: Luke 6:37-42
Written By: Jordan Marsh – Undergrad
Growing up, my family was fiercely competitive. It really did not matter what the activity was – there was a fair chance that one of my brothers or I was going to end up in tears prior to the conclusion of the activity. The worst culprit in this had to be basketball. We ended up having to make a family rule that there was a maximum of 2 brothers playing at once, otherwise things got ugly fast. Now, between the four of us, we are quite an effective team when it comes to team sports and work with each other really well. I say this because it was and is fairly representative of how life seems to work for me when I am interacting with other people.
In the parable, Jesus calls us to “Judge not… Condemn not…Forgive… Give.” These are super important for how we are called to be disciples, and they are also super important in building a relationship with anyone in our lives.
“Judge not” – One of the most common reactions when we meet someone is to judge based off of what we see or what we have heard before. However, this is not what we are called to do by God or the world. So, when you encounter someone, do not presume that you know the entire story, but instead trust for God to reveal this in time.
“Condemn not” – Nowhere in the Bible are we given the moral authority to make a decision about life or death for someone. Given in Romans 6:23 that each sin is worth death, then we do not have the power to condemn even a single action. Know that there is a difference in condoning vs. condemning, and making steps to be beside that person when they need help, instead of casting them aside for that mistake.
“Forgive” – However, one thing that we are called to is forgiveness. In Ephesians 4:26b, we are told: “Do not let the sun set upon your anger.” If we allow our perception of others to have control over us, then we have not given that to God. Instead, let God move in your heart and pour from you back onto someone else. Forgiveness is the erasure of that hurt, anger, and bitterness in your relationship with others, and clears the way for God to move in your life.
“Give” – Finally, you have a relationship with someone now. When you have a team, you don’t immediately trust them and it takes time to actually work together. After enough time, you will be able to work with them to click, and be a better combination than when you were alone. This requires you to give them your trust and your time.
The above four statements of Judge not, Condemn not, Forgive, and Give provide a good basis for how we are told to be in others’ lives. But as the second half of the parable reveals, this is secondary to being right with God in our hearts. Harkening back to the “Team of Brothers” one more time, when you are playing sports, you have a fantasy that you are Michael Jordan – hopefully this does not last forever. Understanding the limitations you have is key to actually working together to succeed. God wants to help you overcome these obstacles so that you can work in the hearts of others in your life.
The reason that my brothers and I are a good team now is that we know our limitations (my shot can’t hit the side of a barn) so that we can help each other in that way. As you go through this challenging season, listen for where God is calling you to grow so that you can grow in others as well.
God help me to know where I am weak and where I am strong, so that I may call upon you to support me in all of my days.
In turn Lord, help me to be your light into the world so that I may go to others as you have come for me.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.