It doesn’ t matter if it’s a plank or a log if it’s in your eye, it’s going to distort your vision!

This morning we had the challenge of removing some logs from between the old house and the garage where they had been lying for the last four years. They had stayed put simply because they were really heavy and we simply didn’t know what to do with them.

As I looked at the logs, it reminded me of the plank and sawdust syndrome (Matthew 7:3-5). You know, the one which magnifies everyone else’s issues. I think that when you live abroad, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negative. Such negativity isn’t something that is reserved for your host culture often couples are equally critical of their spouse. Many couples have this problem even when they live on their own soil! We may criticise our spouse regarding issues in their life when we have even bigger problems.

Many couples have this problem even when they live on their own soil! You may criticise your spouse regarding issues in their life when you have issues in our own. Those issues often distort your vision so your assessment isn’t healthy anyway. That’s why the passage in Matthew suggests it’s important to deal with your own issues first.

Another piece of food for thought is that the Bible doesn’t tell us to ignore the problems, we are expected to deal with them. It does however make it clear that if we don’t deal with our distorted view of things it will warp our perception of others.

When I read this passage in The Message version it paraphrased it like this. I found it pretty helpful.
A Simple Guide for Behaviour

1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults? unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour.

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