In Matthew 7 Jesus asked, “Why do you reach for the speck that is in your neighbor’s eye and ignore the log in your own eye.” I’ll tell you why. Because its easier and less painful for me to tell you what to do than to do it myself!
One time I was speaking at a camp in Northern Arkansas. I took my third son, Matthew with me. On Monday, we were hiking a trail on the side of a steep mountain. In places where the trail washed out they put up ropes. I said, “Ropes are for sissies.” Two steps, boom!
As I was falling, I saw a tree root sticking up. I tried to grab it and slammed my hand on it. Tore open the palm of my hand. I was bad hurt. We hiked out and finally got back to the lodge. We tried to treat it, but it was too bad. So we went to the hospital.
Let me set this up. A few weeks previous, Matthew cut his big toe on a machete. When I went to Costa Rica about 6 years ago, I brought three great big machetes for the boys. Matthew was four, Micah was two, Andrew was eleven. Machetes all around.
Amy said, “What were you thinking?”
So Matthew ended up cutting his toe. Deep. Dr. Calhoun came to the rescue. We were in the room and Keith was preparing to sow it up. He had to deaden it first. Needle in and around the cut. Matthew was crying hard. I was being Dad: “Matthew, this is time to be a man, don’t cry so much. Just suck it up and be tough. Got to get tough.”
Matthew tried so hard.
So now it was my turn. Matthew is sitting beside me in Mountain view Arkansas and the doctor is about to stick a needle into my sore hand. “Hot Tamale!”
I’m telling you, THAT HURTS!
He jabbed, poked, and scrubbed and I writhed in pain. And it dawned on me. Now I know what Matthew was feeling.
It was a lot easier for me to tell him, “Just be tough,” when they were sticking the needle into his toe. But when they stick the needle into my hand, it’s a completely new ballgame. I’m a lot more sympathetic now, because I understand his pain.
That’s why you need to get rid of your log before you poke at someone else’s speck.