Specks and Planks

By Darlene Winans, IWM’s CFO

The eye is the window to the soul' by HJunia on DeviantArt

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. Matthew 7:3-5, NIV

Several days ago, I developed a stye in my eye. If you’ve never had a stye before, you don’t want one. It’s painful, irritating, and makes your eye tear up and water a lot. Now I’m going to give you the medical definition of a stye (also spelled sty), so if medical stuff makes you queasy, skip this part, and continue to the next paragraph. The Mayo Clinic defines a stye as “a bacterial infection involving one or more of the small glands near the base of your eyelashes. It is similar to a boil or a pimple and is often painful. A sty is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple. Sties are often filled with pus”. Gross. I warned you.

It just so happened that when I developed a stye in my eye, it was also the weekend that we were moving. We had just bought a house and were so thankful for God’s provision. With no time for medical treatment, I trudged onward, bending and stooping, moving boxes from point A to point B. The pain and the watery eyes made my vision blurry, so my spatial perception was off. I kept bumping into walls, tripping on stairs, and dropping things. I was irritable and cranky. All because of a little stye.

Jesus spoke about a speck in our brother’s eye and compared it to the plank in our own eye. Now, if that one little stye in my eye wreaked such havoc on my moving weekend, caused such pain, irritation, and watery eyes, how much more devastation would be caused by an entire plank of wood in my eye? It sounds ridiculous, how could an entire plank of wood, say, a 2 x 4, get lodged in someone’s eye? Yet Jesus used these extremes, a speck versus a plank, to illustrate the hypocrisy amongst the Pharisees in His day. But it also illustrates how the tiniest speck can affect your vision. Your perception. Your balance. How your respond to others. It speaks to the condition of the heart.

I finally went to the doctor on Monday, after our moving weekend, and received an antibiotic ointment for my eye. By Tuesday my eye was feeling much better, not 100 percent, but a huge improvement over the day before. My vision was getting back to normal, and my balance and depth perception were restored. I began responding to others out of kindness and love, rather than out of irritation and crankiness.

It is said that the eyes are the window of the soul. That speck in your eye is also a speck in your heart. Or, if it is a plank, that plank in your eye is also a plank in your heart. The speck is an emotional scrape or bruise you incurred recently, but you’re not ready to let it go, to let the Master take care of it for you. The plank is a much deeper emotional scar left by the world years ago, one that only Jesus the Healer can carry for you. Guess what the cross was made of? Two planks.

Give your pain, your hurts, your silent suffering – give it all to Jesus. He can heal your bruised and broken heart. He can restore your balance and perception. Listen to Him calling to you today and respond with a heart open and ready to receive healing from Him.

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