Logs and Specks
Each of us grows up with unresolved issues from our childhood and more issues are added along the way. No family, no parent or spouse, can give us all the love we need and an integral part of the spiritual journey is coming to see our own wounds and coming to allow God to heal those wounds instead of carrying around a bunch of anger toward other humans for not being able to give us what we need. We are all created with a need to be loved. Human beings can meet that need in part but only God can meet that need fully. As we mature in good, healthy ways we let God into our hearts more completely and our resentment toward humanity softens. Each of us has unresolved issues. As we come to see those issues, we also come to see that God is the healing force which can make us whole. We come to depend on him for health and salvation and things around us fall into place in a much more positive way. Or we don’t recognize our issues and life is always a grim battle with a succession of disappointing encounters.
In Matthew’s gospel (chapter 7), Jesus deals with logs and specks. “Why do you see the speck that is in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” My own issues are the ones that merit my greatest attention. Jesus says it pretty clearly: when there’s something wrong between me and my neighbor, I am the one with the biggest issue (log), not my neighbor (speck). If both of us are mired in the conflict, only able to see what wrongs are being committed by the other, there simply is no resolution. If just one of us will recognize and tend to our own issues, then the other usually comes around. If both of us can focus on our own issues and allow the other to do that in their life, then resolution comes quickly. The conflict is transformed into a life-giving event. But as long as we are assuming the other person has a bigger problem than we do, we are endlessly paralyzed.
We talk about sin as doing wrong things. Probably a better description of sin is this wound we all have that no one can completely fix. We can’t resolve our issues. No one else can resolve them for us. We need help. That’s what having a sinful nature really means: we need help. Often we deny there is anything wrong and refuse to admit our need. Sin then takes hold of us more completely. We come to think we’re doing all that can be expected of us while the rest of the world is heaping burdens on us. It looks like everyone else has the bigger problem (log) and that our problem is relatively small (speck). With that mindset we approach things in an unresolvable way. The corrective path of grace begins with the nudge from Christ: you are the problem (log), not everyone else (speck). Look at your issues. Let other people come to terms with their own issues.
Facing our unresolved issues is pretty painful. The work can be discouraging. Admitting the truth about what we have not received and how we have allowed that to become an excuse for our behaviors and attitudes isn’t easy. But it is the path to wholeness and salvation. As I admit my own issues, which are always based in a sense of unrealized love, then I can let go of the resentment that has built up in my life. I can turn to the one God who can fulfill my needs. I can then receive the love I so desperately need. The log in my eye dissolves and the created order looks a lot different.
The issues we have in life, though difficult and painful, are our paths to wholeness and salvation. By embracing them, we come to a place of resolution. We even come to a place of gratitude. The logs we have tried to deny become the things which point us to the loving God whose nature is to heal. We stop looking to the wrong places for healing and turn to God who is uniquely equipped to save us.
My issues are my issues. Yours are yours. Mine belong to me. Yours belong to you. Take care of your own logs. Turn to your Savior for the help he can give. Get out of your own way. Get out of the way of others. Let them deal with their issues. This is the path to salvation.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.