Updated: Apr 20
"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?" Matthew 7:3,4
When I was six years old my parents took me and my sisters to Oklahoma to visit family. We did all the "family things" like hug necks and say "hello" and "how've you been". We ate a big meal together and I explored their home room by room, every nook and cranny (I was a nosy child like that). As evening was approaching and the adults settled down in the living room to have 'adult conversation' (yawn), I ventured into the garage and out into the yard to do some more exploring. I decided I would take my curiosity out onto the open road. I found a tricycle and thought this would be the perfect caravan to take me on my little excursion. It was quite small for my longish legs but I made it work.
I stole away on the open road (actually the sidewalk) and rode like the wind. It was a warm summer evening and the sun was still on the horizon. Oh how I enjoyed being out on my own, traveling the dusty sidewalks and enjoying the beauty of this pleasant little neighborhood.
As I was breezing along at a pretty good clip wouldn't you know a small dog happened up behind me and decided to join me on this journey. I was fine with him as long as he kept his distance, and he did, always staying a few paws behind. But of course I didn't trust him so I stole a quick glance behind me every few minutes.
Did you know that Oklahoma is known for their vast variety of huge cacti? They even have a "Cacti and Succulent Organization" that helps to preserve and save endangered cactus. Well, I met one of their own as I was scouting out the area on this day. One of the many times I turned my head to check on the four legged friend, I took my eyes off the course. The last time I did this I gazed a little too long and ended up in the middle of one of their beloveds. The tricycle betrayed me and veered of the road (sidewalk) and I went head over heels into the vast sea of needles giving it a great big hug. As I tried to lift myself off of this plant I noticed the hairy creature had aborted our mission and high tailed it home (so loyal). So did I, as best as my prickly legs could carry me.
I ended up seated on the bathroom counter with four adults picking me with fingernails, tweezers, pliers; any tool they could find to extract the fine sharp like hairs out of me. From my feet up to my face I was covered. I was poked and prodded and looked at from under a magnifying glass for the next hour or so and even on into the next few weeks as more came to the surface. It was painful and irritating. It caused me many tears and regret. My parents kept asking "why" and "how" and "where". Some questions I just didn't have the answers for. They judged my independence on navigating the outdoors without them and wondered if I was stable enough to endure being in the presence of dogs all together, since they seem to bring me such distress and bad luck.
"Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matt. 7:5)
I think we may judge others as if looking through a magnifying glass as well. Don't you think? If we find others faults it makes us feel as if ours aren't so bad after all. Our ears are pricked when we hear negative words about someone and we just need to investigate to find out if it is 'truth' or not. We quickly judge and make assumptions before we even know the person's situation or circumstances.
I have worked hard on keeping my eyes on my path (It is a work in progress). Of praying first and not being a part of idle talk. Of reaching out instead of walking away. Loving more. Trusting and believing and holding true to my faith (I am not perfect but am striving forward everyday).
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." (Matt. 7:1)
Let's not be like vultures skimming the skin of a six year old covered with cactus needles. Let's be the hands and feet of Jesus with the mind of Christ.
I love you & He loves you more!
Dear Lord, may we walk in Your light being mindful of others. May we not pick them apart but love them exactly where they are. Amen.