For those of you that were around in the late ’80s, you may recall a book written by Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit number five he describes in this way. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Flipping the script here a bit from Covey’s original intention, consider this.
Matthew 7, verse 3 asks the question, “why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, and not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Perhaps we should seek to understand our own sin or issue, before trying to remedy the sin or issue in our fellow believer’s life. So often the three fingers pointing back at us send a stronger signal toward the truth than the one pointed elsewhere.
Jesus wasn’t suggesting that we not hold our brothers and sisters in the Lord accountable for bad behavior, but He was suggesting we take a long hard look at our own heart, and actions, in balancing the scales of understanding. In fact, he calls our sin logs or planks, and our neighbors’ specks.
What a great metaphor. In the original language the speck and log are indicated to be made of the same material. Just more of it.
Our challenge is to always approach God with a spirit of humility. We’re also encouraged to do the same when approaching a fellow believer, or anyone for that matter.
Let’s seek first to understand our own shortcomings and ask God to help us remove the log in our own eye before grabbing the tweezers to remove that speck from another.
And that’s the Memo.