The Sawdust and the Plank

sawdust

Please allow me to present us with this challenge:

The next time an opportunity comes our way to critique another human being (which will surely come to all of us), let’s try to form a new habit.

Rather than speak of all the bad things they may have done, all of their flaws, mistakes and poor decisions (which we all have), think about a speck of sawdust and a plank. Then, remember Jesus’ use of these two common items in His teaching.

Remember the story?

The one being criticized had the speck of sawdust in their eye, while the one about to do the criticizing had the plank.

I can’t speak for you. But for me, I need to learn and re-learn this important life lesson anew every single day.

We all have flaws, idiosyncrasies, and personality traits that annoy the hell out of each other. That’s just the way it is.

However, we have two options to choose from. Life will always present us with options.

Sawdust or plank?

If ‘Jesus is Lord’ is the creed of our lives, than Jesus has the right to tell us how to live (thanks, Bruxy Cavey).

And, His way was to remember the sawdust and the plank.

Maybe – a better option is to remember the good traits and positive qualities that make that person great.

Maybe – a better option is to choose the way of love.

Maybe – a better option is to whisper a prayer for ourselves as we seek forgiveness for the thoughts we were processing. And, to whisper a prayer of grace, love and peace for the other person.

Rather than critique – let us form a habit of whispered prayer.

Think about this for a moment…

What if every time a negative thought came into our minds about another person, we chose to pray for them rather than to criticize?

I’m not a genius, but I think things would turn out very differently for the one praying, as well as for the one being prayed for, if we chose this option.

So…

Let us together form a new habit of remembering the sawdust and the plank.

Let us together form a new habit of whispered prayer.

Let us together choose the better way.

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“Above all, love each other deeply, for love makes up for many of your faults.”

The Apostle Peter

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”

Jesus, The Lord’s Prayer

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Healing, Miracles and the Launching of the Kingdom of God in Jesus

jesusMatthew makes it clear that Jesus’ ministry centered on proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and the demonstration of that kingdom through the healing of various diseases (Matthew 4:23). We see an immediate connection between the in-breaking of the kingdom of God in the person of Jesus with the proclamation of the good news and healing.

Ron Kydd concurs that, “In Jesus, God was launching a revolution aimed at the total transformation of human experience,” and healings were a part of the program. (1)

Through healing, Jesus gave his audience a glimpse of what the fullness of the kingdom of God will look like. They were signs, or pointers, to the future kingdom finding expression in the here and now. “The exercise of this power was evidence that the longed-for kingdom of God had already come upon his hearers.” (2)

God’s will for the earth was breaking into the world through Jesus. The kingdom had been inaugurated and healings were a sign of its arrival. Yet, while the time of ultimate fulfillment lay in the future, when everyone will experience the fullness of the kingdom, God’s reign was now being seen in its early stages.

In this light, the miraculous takes on a whole new meaning. It is something that should be anticipated, even today, as evidence of the in-breaking of the kingdom of God.

However, as a partial in-breaking, the reality is that not everyone, in every situation, will experience its effects. Signs are often sporadic in nature; incomplete pictures that point us toward the future, when the fullness of God’s kingdom will be realized. In that day, God’s reign will be made complete and the world, along with everyone in it, will be made whole (Rev. 21).

1. Ron Kydd. Healing Through the Centuries: Models for Understanding. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1998. 3.

2. James D.G. Dunn. Jesus and the Spirit. London: SCM, 1975. 47.