Workin' on the planks!

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Matthew 7:1-5 TNIV

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person’s eye.”

It’s a very interesting passage.  And one that I learned to ignore or justify in a skinny minute pretty early on in my walk with God.  Well, let’s face it.  We can all spin it if we really need to, can’t we?  For today’s writing purposes, I’m talking solely about me, so you’re welcome.  🙂

Not only did I learn to ignore certain parts of scripture but I also wasn’t a fan of being wrong.  Not one bit.  Matter of fact, I relished, relished I say, being right.  I would dare say we all have experienced that, but again, I’m talking solely about me, so you’re welcome.  Again.

I would turn my nose up at people who didn’t quite measure up to my standard of living – work ethic, morals, rule-keeping, or busy-body-ness.  And in that process, I judged them. I didn’t really consider it judging at the time – more like a “fruit inspector.”  They weren’t bearing the fruit and I was simply observing that.  


I judged that speck in your eye because it looked like a giant boulder to me.  (That’s probably because the plank in my eye was distorting my vision, but I digress.)  I would say things like, “Man.  They are so slack.  What a whiner.  What a lazy person.  You won’t find me doing that.  No sir.  I’m on top of it.”


Everything was always everyone else’s fault – their issue, their problem, their fault.  Every. Thing.  I never wanted to own up to anything in my own life because that meant failure, less-than-perfect, flawed, etc.  And I couldn’t have that happening.

So I practiced this false humility of sorts.  I would “act like” I was aware and working on my “issues” but in reality, ummm, not so much.  Why?

Because in my mind I didn’t have issues.  Everyone else did.  And that seemed very feasible and real to me.  After all, I was doing for Jesus and thought I had relationship with Him.  Yeah.  I know.  Pathetic, really.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye.

Notice how Jesus was pretty frank here.  He calls me a hypocrite.  Yeah.  Tough stuff.  But true.  How on earth can I even qualify myself to be judge and jury of someone else when I can’t even rightly judge myself?  It really is asinine if you think about it.

Here’s what’s been brewing in my head lately:

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all simply learned how to deal with our own messes, own up to our own junk?  You know that scripture up there is pretty clear that if we do that first, then we are in a better place to help our neighbor out with their speck.

Our plank.

Their speck.

Wouldn’t that be a great place to be?

Because here’s the kicker:  If everyone is working on their own plank, the only thing left to help our brother out with is a tiny speck.  And because we’re all working out our own issues, we are in a better place to receive correction and help from another person to deal with those pesky specks.

Crazy how that works, isn’t it?

So in my journey from being Martha to becoming Mary, I have discovered that I love working on my own issues and hammering them out.  It’s so freeing and humbling and life-changing.  Having a healed heart and right relationship with God is pretty amazing.  😉

And I’m in a better place to have someone say to me, “Hey Mary, that thing you do. . . .maybe it could be worked on a bit. . . ”  Yes, it stings, but when it’s done in love, it’s a good thing.

A real good thing.

So, what do you think?  Ready to deal with those planks?


Mary HessMary is an active member of New Day Community Church – where she serves on staff as a Pastoral Assistant and Director of Events & Communication. When she’s not working, Mary enjoys reading, blogging and spending time with her husband and two children. And coffee. She really loves coffee.  You can also read more from her on her personal site: