Lately I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ teaching in Matthew’s Gospel (7:3-5):
“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? 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? 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.”
Traditionally speaking, when we think about of these verses we associate it with judging others of their faults without any concern for our own. Jesus illustrated to be in touch with your own sense of self before you move on to someone else. In other words, don’t be a hypocrite.
At the same time, I think there is something deeper in his teaching that is equally valuable. When we are agitated, reactive, and depleted, our soul cries out of attention. Ignoring the cries can be caustic. Even when we press to cultivate compassion for another at the expense of our own suffering might not achieve what we ultimately desire. Similar to co-dependency, to focus on others without tending to your needs dismisses the suffering cry from your own soul.
It is no different than ‘screaming yourself into silence, straining your way into relaxation, or fighting your way to inner peace.’ Perhaps, one should take time to tend to his/her own soul before they try to help another. This is not selfishness! You can’t give to another what you don’t already have. Out of your own sense of wholeness you love others. Jesus would later say, “Love your neighbor has yourself.” Here, you actually love two persons: Your neighbor and yourself. Tending to your soul’s needs is loving yourself.
This Week’s Reading:
- Monday – Revelation 8
- Tuesday – Revelation 9
- Wednesday – Revelation 10
- Thursday – Revelation 11
- Friday – Revelation 12
Please Pray for:
- The United Methodist Church
- Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
- Our nation and our leaders.
- Those suffering due to catastrophic natural disasters.
- Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Completion of New Youth Building and rear parking.