Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Getting Rid of the Logs

I think to judge someone is basically to say, “I am good and you are not.”

It is pointing out the fault in another, when our vision is actually distorted.

Jesus said, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Luke 6:41-42, NLT)

For the self-righteous accusers of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus’ challenge was to self-examination. “Let those who have never sinned throw the first stones.” (John 8:7)

When Jesus was invited to Simon’s house and anointed by a sinful woman with expensive perfume, Simon was horrified. “She’s a sinner!” he protested to Jesus. And Jesus rebuked him, “Simon, you didn’t offer me water when I entered your house. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head.” In other words, “Simon, take a humble look at yourself and then look at this woman as I see her.” Then to the repentant one who had wholeheartedly blessed him, he spoke gently. “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

And then there was the proud Pharisee who prayed, “I thank you, God that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income.” Meanwhile the tax collector, who had a more accurate view of himself “stood at a distance and dared not lift his eyes to heaven. ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’” And God was merciful to the one who recognized his need of Him. (Luke 18:9-14)

When we judge someone else, we harden our hearts and step onto an undeserved platform. Smug and wrapped in a robe of self-righteousness, we look down and feel better about ourselves with condemning thoughts about another. “I am good and you are not.” This offensive robe must be removed, along with the troublesome log in our eye, if we want to see ourselves as God sees us. And when our hearts are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, He will give us His robe of true righteousness.

Jesus said, “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop accusing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:37-38)

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Since our family's move last year, for Charly to do his PhD research on Chinese Muslim minorities, we have become increasingly aware of judgments between Christians and Muslims. In the spring, I had a conversation with a man in Gaoli village whose eyes filled with tears as he brought up issues in the Middle East and asked me about American politics (definitely not one of my strong suits in conversation!)

I told him that we didn’t agree with all of America’s foreign policies. And I said that as a result of 9/11, it seems that many Americans have come to see Muslims as the “enemy.” Muslim has come to be synonymous with terrorist. I told this Muslim man that our family has been blessed to get to know many wonderful Muslims in Gansu province, and that we hope we can promote better understanding between Muslims and Christians, in the East and the West. We would love to see both sides remove the logs blocking the way, in order to see the other as God does.

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)


  1. This is beautiful, Jo, and so appropo for so many issues/topics right now. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Robyn!

  2. Wow...this is powerful, Jodie! Thank you. I was reminded of a huge trunk of a tree in my own life by a dear friend just today.
    Love you, Barbara

    1. So glad to hear this from you, Barbara!



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