"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
March 18, 2009
Several days ago, my left eye began to feel really irritated. There are a lot of things blooming right now, so I thought perhaps it was just allergies, and that it would go away soon. After about three days, I awoke one morning and my eye was watering and I could hardly keep it open. At that point, it felt like there was something on the underside of my eyelid that was rubbing my eye every time I blinked. I decided that I had best go have a doctor check it out. He found that there was a bump on the underside of my eyelid that was swollen and was rubbing my eye, which was causing the irritation. He said that I possibly could have a slight bacterial pink eye. He prescribed some expensive antibiotic eye drops, and after using it for a few days, my eye healed.
I went to the doctor on a Friday, then on Sunday afternoon I started running a fever. I ended up with a sore throat, cough, and chest and nasal congestion all last week. I'm guessing that I had the flu. Needless to say, it was a most unpleasant week! I make a cranky sick person. My husband was very thankful when I started feeling better.
During the time that my eye was hurting, and then when I had the flu/virus, I did everything that I could think of to get well. I knew that if I didn't take care of myself, that it would take longer to heal. I also knew that if I wasn't careful, that what I had could end up turning into something worse; and I didn't want to end up going to the doctor [again] and taking medication. I was determined to get well!
How foolish it would have been if I had of tried to "doctor" Jon, when I was the one who was sick. What good would it have done, if instead of caring for my own symptoms, I took care of Jon instead? He wasn't the one with the problems; it was me. I could have justified my actions by saying, "By caring for Jon, I'm preventing him from getting sick." Yet by doing so, my own symptoms would not have gone away, but possibly would have compounded.
Jesus is teaching a multitude of people. In Luke 6:41 He asks the question, "Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye?" He continues, "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."
In Matthew chapter seven, is another variation of these scriptures. In verse one, Jesus begins by saying, "Judge not, that you be not judged." He goes on to say, "For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Verses 3-5 says, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrites! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Jesus is teaching the people about judging others, while letting their own problems go and not ridding themselves of their own sin. It's much easier to look at others and try to "fix" them.
Many years ago, my sister and brother-in-law were pastoring a particular church. It was a great church, but had a lot of legalities in it. The people were good, but some tended to be very strict and expected everyone else to abide by their rules of what was right and wrong. There were a few who placed themselves in the position of letting others know how they were supposed to look and dress. And there was little, if no, tolerance for the rough edges of new converts. They took the role of condemning others upon themselves, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict and bring change.
On one particular occasion, a lady began coming to their church. As far as I know, she had no church background and knew very little about God. She was wearing pants (which was a big no-no), and was told by some of the women that she needed to wear a dress to church. So the next Sunday, that's what she did. It was probably the only one she owned, and was a mini skirt. She was told that it was inappropriate for church. Guess what? She never came back.
It was much easier for those church ladies to criticize and judge this woman, than to search their own lives to see if perhaps their own attitudes and ability to love those who didn't fit their criteria, needed a change. They were so bound by tradition, that they refused to look beyond the outward appearance and see this lady's heart. Was the visitor wrong for not fitting into their mold of how they believed "church women" should dress? No, absolutely not. There was probably something within her, at that particular point of time, where she was searching for something to fill the void within her. She came to church looking for answers. Yet someone there tried to "remove the speck" from her eye [so to speak], without seeing the plank that was in their own eye. I'm sure she left feeling as if she were not good enough to be accepted by God. After all, if people within the church couldn't accept her, how could God? She probably felt as if there were too many rules and regulations. She was shown what religion is, not what relationship with Jesus is.
Our words and attitudes toward others can bring hurt and cause damage, when we act in the flesh. And that damage can cause scars that are almost impossible to heal, at times. It's not our job or duty to convict or condemn. But it's our responsibility to love and encourage and pray. It's our responsibility to get the plank out of our own eye, and allow the Holy Spirit to help the other person remove the speck that's within their eye.
When I was sick, there were a couple of days that Jon didn't feel well. He was tired and a little achy. Part of that was probably from me not sleeping well at night and coughing, and keeping him awake. I know that he wasn't sleeping or resting well while I was sick. But I was the one who was actually sick; he was just tired and not feeling his best. That's kind of an example between a plank in our own eye, while someone else has a speck in their eye.
What good would it have done if I had of neglected myself, and instead gave Jon the hot tea, medication, kleenex, cough drops, and made him lie down and rest? I would have ended up spreading my own germs to him, which in turn could have ended up making him sick. What would have been the profit in that?
I have heard people who will talk of wanting to see their kids and grandkids have a relationship with God and get involved in a good church, yet they will neglect their own salvation and walk with God. They are more concerned that others are living the right way, instead of setting an example of living right themselves.
May we each take a moment and consider if perhaps there is a plank in our own eye that needs to be removed. Are we more interested in the affairs of others and judging their actions than we are in caring for our own salvation? Judge not, lest we too be judged. However painful it may be, let us each allow God to remove the sin within our own heart [the planks in our eyes], and take care of our own shortcomings and problems. Once we do, the sin and shortcomings of others may not look quite so bad or big. We will know what it is to have God's grace and forgiveness extended to us; therefore, we will be more apt to extend grace and forgiveness to others.
I saw part of a movie recently in which one person sacrificed his own life to save the lives of two others. Hordes of enemy were chasing them down, and Boromir slowed them down so that Merry and Pippin could escape. But it didn't go so smoothly. Merry and Pippin were so shocked and horrified that they didn't run. How could they just run away while their comrade was dying for them? By waiting, they practically threw away the sacrifice Boromir made for them.
It would be very hard for almost anyone to run away while a friend gave up their life. "Why should I live while they don't?"
But the friend gave up their life so that you would live. Choosing not to live would be throwing away that gift. Their death would just be a meaningless loss.
I think it's easy to do the same with Jesus' sacrifice. We are the ones who have sinned. We are the ones deserving of death. But Jesus gave his life so we don't have to pay that price. Even though we may feel so undeserving, Jesus gave that gift to us, and to turn it down would just be a meaningless loss.
*** I have not yet tried this, but have been told that this works very well. I received this as an email from a friend. It sounds like it would actually be very cool, so I'm anxious to give it a try.
This works well! Good for when you're alone or when all your family is together. It also works well for campouts. The best feature is that no one has to wait for their omelet.
Have everyone write their name on a quart-size Ziplock bag with a permanent marker.
Crack 2 eggs into a quart size Ziplock bag (not more than 2); shake to combine them.
Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green peppers, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, salsa, etc.
Each person adds prepared ingredients of choice into their bag and shake the bag to mix them well.
Make sure to get the air out of the bag and tightly zip it up.
Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot.
Cut the bags and the omelet will roll easily out. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.
Everyone gets involved in the process and it becomes a great conversation piece. You can also prepare the bags the night before, and put the bag in boiling water the next morning while you get ready. In just 13 minutes you have a nice omelet for a quick breakfast.
I always remember my Grandma Horton having white hair, and wearing it up in a bun on back of her head. I vaguely also remember her braiding it in a long braid, and wrapping the braid around her head. I'm not sure when she started wearing her hair like that, but in pictures when my older sisters were little, she always wore it in one of those two ways. But I have pictures of her that were taken after she and Grandpa were married, and also some from when her kids were small, and she had dark hair that was cut in a short bob. It's hard to imagine my strict Grandma wearing her hair that stylish. One time, after her hair had turned white, she decided to use a rinse on it. Her hair was the dingy yellowish white color, and she thought the rinse would whiten it. Apparently, she bought the wrong stuff though. The rinse turned her hair black. From the stories I heard, she was devastated and quite shocked. She washed and washed her hair over and over again, until she got the rinse out. Thankfully, she had just used a temporary rinse, instead of permanent hair color. I believe she had told my mom about it afterwards. After that, she never ever tried another rinse on her hair and just left it the yellowed color.
Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.
For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21,22
We love you!
Loretta & Jon