Me First

Craig Peterson

Matthew 7:1-5 1“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how [b]can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 
Jesus lays out a clear order for how we are to judge. First, we are to stand judge over ourselves, our own lives. We are to consider the log in our own eye. Then, and only then, are we to look at the lives of others. Then we can better see the speck in the eyes of others. It is then that we, “will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”. 
Honestly, I have to admit that these verses…this concept is the absolute most difficult, the most ignored and most dangerous thing that Jesus taught. Not because of what He taught. Because of how we (Christians) interpret what He taught. Yes, that includes ignoring what He taught. Right now, I find myself struggling with a family member. A family member whom I have loved and respected as long as I can remember. A family member who has been an innovator, a leader and a mighty warrior in the faith, but who, in the past couple of months has admitted to sin in his life. Sin that can be destructive to family (for generations), to ministry, to people in ministry and to the kingdom. Sin that strikes a blow of a lost battle to the Kingdom of God. My reaction: outrage; anger; frustration; disappointment; sadness and hurt. I find myself reacting to the result of this family members sin. I find myself willing to express my anger and frustration. I am finding it easy to allow my “righteous indignation” to occupy my thoughts about this situation. But I am finding that what Jesus taught is not my natural reaction. My natural reaction is not to look deeply into my own life. My natural reaction is not to come before with a repentant heart. My natural reaction is to look at what appears to be a log in the eye of another, and regard my own faults as specks. What I need to learn is that my first regard must be for my own logs. As I seek the grace and forgiveness of the Lord, then I will be able to extend the grace and forgiveness of the Lord to others. 
Lord, forgive my arrogance. I sin and my sin is as ugly to you as anyone else’s. I have experienced your grace and forgiveness and should be willing to extend it much more readily than I do. I am so sorry for ignoring my log and focusing (like I can even come close to focusing with anything in my eye, let alone a log) on the specs in the eyes of others. Forgive me for taking things out of order. Help me to take your order, your instruction more seriously. Give me the grace to extend forgiveness and love others, even when they don’t do what they should…even if they do harm to your kingdom. Help me to love with your love. 

Devotions for April 20

1 Samuel 23
Psalm 31
Psalm 54
Matthew 7

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