The Log in My Eye
As we look forward to the coming year, many of us are focused on how we can change the world. After the last few years, we all want the world to be better in some way. All of our resolutions, our promises to ourselves and others, our commitments to improving life are important and good, but have we ever considered that there may be a factor missing from our planning?
Recently I remembered this quote from Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
This is definitely true for me. If I have to choose between looking honestly and deeply into the dark crevices of my life or focusing on the glaring problems of someone else, I’m going to choose to focus on someone else. It’s much easier to point out the things that need to be changed, fixed, or adjusted in others, compared to myself. And, it’s less painful!
Don’t you agree? This proclivity of ours is nothing new. In Scripture, Jesus asks us:
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, 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.” (Matthew 7:3-5 NRSV)
This is my problem. I become comfortable with the log in my own eye. Attending to the hard and painful work of changing myself requires desire AND ability. But, let’s face it, there are some areas in my life where I simply lack the ability to change.
Paul the apostle recognized this in his own life: “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” – Romans 7:18b (ESV)
So, if I have the desire to change and am willing to acknowledge I lack the ability to do so, perhaps I’m ready to open myself to the only One who can help me. He alone is able to change in me what I cannot change on my own.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7:24-25a (ESV)
In 2022, let’s all ask the Lord to transform our hearts first before we try to fix the rest of the world. Changing the world is a wonderful goal, but let’s not forget that the world cannot be a better place until I become a better person!
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