Give the “Speck” a Break

I’m still loving the 28 Day Challenge. God is really bringing some transformation into my life through this.

Yesterday we were in Matt. 7 and I couldn’t get these three verses out of my mind.

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

In a moment of frustration last week I twittered “Isn’t it funny how we can agree with 90% of what someone says but we focus, twitter and blog about the other 10%.”

And just so I’m clear by “funny” I really mean sad and pathetic.

Why do we do this?

Why do we poke fun?

Why do we take cheap jabs?

Why do we criticize?

Why do we belittle?

Is it about defending truth and protecting a generation against false prophets? Ummmm, usually not.

We usually do it because we somehow think it justifies our stance. Because surely we couldn’t both be right. Surely more than one model wouldn’t work.

We usually do it because our ego has been damaged and it just makes us feel better to tear someone else down. I hate this part of me, but I know from experience tearing others down can briefly make me feel better about myself.

We usually do it because we ourselves have been a victim of criticism and we’re reacting from our hurt.  The old adage that “hurt people, hurt people” is so true and alive and well in the church today.

Can I make a suggestion? Instead of focusing on the 10% why don’t we build relationships based on the 90%. And as God opens doors let’s speak into one another’s lives. Let’s focus on being one and allow God’s Spirit to bring about the change to His body  He desires.

Trust me. I don’t agree with everything my pastor friends believe. I don’t believe in all of their theology, strategies, personalities, and models, but I’ve found we’re still on the same team and we can accomplish a lot more together than we can tearing each other apart.

If listening to that pastor’s messages ticks you off, then don’t listen.

If articles about the missional church drive you crazy, then don’t read them.

If the growth of the attractional church makes you angry, then stop tracking their numbers.

If every time you read his blog or her blog you find yourself fighting a wave of jealousy, then unsubscribe.

Now I know some of you are going to say “but how do we bring about change if we don’t challenge, question and push back?” I’m all for challenging but I think there is a way we can do this with respect, love, and grace. There is a way we can engage in a conversation without throwing stones and taking public shots at each other.

Focus on the change you need to bring to your life, to your church. Worry about the “log” and give the “speck” a break.

I think our firestorms of criticism are doing immense damage to the body of Christ. Not only are we distracting each other from our main mission, we are simply playing right into the hands of those outside the faith who already think we’re trite and hypocritical.

Your thoughts?

46 Responses to “Give the “Speck” a Break”

  1. Tommy Sircy says:

    After I get this plank out of my eye, I’ll say, amen.

    Great post, Pete.

    Tommy Sircy’s last blog post..Study Nook

  2. sherri says:

    Well said Pete! You are right on every point.I have nothing to add except I love the Book of Matthew and Jesus’ words.

    sherri’s last blog post..No One Is Safe!

  3. Pete Wilson says:

    @Tommy, me and you both!

  4. :-)

    Carolyn Hepburn’s last blog post..Spring at long last.

  5. Sorry, sent too soon and can’t edit it seems. Love the post. Love your heart. Wonder what the world would be like if we all tried to see the best in people like this?

    Carolyn Hepburn’s last blog post..Spring at long last.

  6. Jan Connair says:

    “Because surely we couldn’t both be right. Surely more than one model wouldn’t work.”

    You know how every once in awhile someone says something in the just the right way for you, and you get that “aha!” moment? Well, that just happened to me when I read the above lines. There are many times in my life when I find myself arguing a point, and I am engaged in that argument based on the idea that one of us is right. I am thinking of arguments with my husband or kids, primarily. In these situations, I must confess that it rarely occurs to me that more than one model might work, that there’s a way to combine two models to come to a solution, or that someone else might have something to teach me that I didn’t know before.

    “Funny” how that happens, isn’t it?

    Jan Connair’s last blog post..Crafty

  7. Jack says:

    By saying Amen, do I automatically put myself in the group with the “log” because I just pointed out someone else’s shortfalls?! I’m so confused, but I think I agree! :)

    Seriously though, I followed your tweet to Suburban Turmoil and her article entitled “christian” last night. Perfect example! Thank you, because I need to be reminded of this so often!

    Jack’s last blog post..Shoes

  8. britt says:

    Yeah, I agree.. and the funny thing is after you stop thinking about it.. it kind of goes away.

  9. Pete Wilson says:

    @Jan, I wrote that line because I have friends involved with different churches and different models. They are all in one way or another working. However, they seem to have a desire to bash one another’s models in hope that it makes their model look stronger or more effective.

  10. Heather says:

    Gosh, thank you. I truly appreciate the insight and recognition.

    Heather’s last blog post..+we’re fighting for ourselves, fighting for our lives

  11. I think you are right, we need to come together through the belief in the fundamentals and not the those beliefs we disagree on. But I also believe, just like Paul, we should be encouraging and loving (which doesn’t always look just the way we think it should look), and bring change to the Church. If we would only come together and see each others beauty in Christ, we could start to help each other see (through true community), what Christ wants for us.

    And believe me, I am saying this with problems in my own life. I’m dealing with a lot right now. Say I was a smoker, and I saw someone else smoking that I knew that was a fellow believer, and I told them to stop, then that would be hypocritical… But if I was a smoker, and something was wrong in the Church, and at the time I was trying to quit smoking, I was encouraging the Church to change, I think that is different. Correct me if I’m wrong… :)

    Really enjoyed this post, thanks :)

    -stephen

    Stephen Stonestreet’s last blog post..for you.

  12. ransom33 says:

    Hi Pete,
    This is radical stuff and is a solution that is staring us, the Body of Christ, right in the face. I think that your honesty will break many barriers and build many bridges, and your approach to this reflects God’s heart of unity for his people. God bless you.

    May I invite you to read a post I wrote some weeks ago along the same lines as yours, entitled “Should Christians really be exposing and pulling up the weeds amongst the wheat?” Let me know what you think, if you get the chance to read it.

    Blessings and keep up the good work.

    ransom33 @ http://www.ransom33.wordpress.com

    ransom33’s last blog post..What do you hear, what do you see?

  13. Maureen says:

    Great, great words!!! That is one of my favorite verses when I start to criticize or complain about someone’s way of doing things…I definitely need to stop looking at specs and taking out the logs in my own eyes!

    Maureen’s last blog post..Mediterranean Monday: Ulpan

  14. David Knapp says:

    Maybe some good advise, once we get the log out of our eye then we should just drop it on the ground as opposed to taking it out of our eye and beating somebody over the head with it.

    We are supposed to be known for our love not our divisions.

    Great post Pete.

    David Knapp’s last blog post..Mini Golf Extravaganza

  15. Pete Wilson says:

    I think you’re right Stephen.

    Someone once said “no relationship means no influence”. I think we need to focus on the “relationship” aspect first and then allow God to work in us and through us to bring about the change in the Christian community He wants to bring.

  16. I’m loving the 28 day challenge. It’s got me focusing on one chapter in Matthew each day, and then digging in to other books (so that I don’t read ahead in Matthew!). Loving it!

    The plank, the log….man, it’s all so tough huh? One thing I want to add is that when we “put down” another church (be it pastor or congregation) we are acting as a stumbling block to who we are speaking to. If I say, “I don’t go to that church because I don’t like the music….” then the person I am speaking to might be negatively influenced by my words. Satan loves that.

    Melissa Irwin’s last blog post..In Love Again

  17. katdish says:

    For the record, I only poke fun at pastors on their blogs if I have the utmost respect for them…

    And I rarely attack unless it is in defense of a friend who is being unfairly attacked. Don’t let the haters get you down.

    katdish’s last blog post..Twenty-one?

  18. *~Michelle~* says:

    I think it all boils down to the power of the tongue…..

    For example….it takes 10-20 (or more!) positive comments to to “erase” one negative comment. Think about how influential our words are to our children….will they remember the 100 praises we have given…..or that one negative comment we spoke into their life?
    Kinda like the hole in the fence theory….the negative remark is like a nail in the fence…..you can pull it out, but there is still the hole.

    ok, I am rambling and probably way off topic, but it just came into my heart to share.

    lots of stuff to think about today, thanks!

    *~Michelle~*’s last blog post..You are worth it!

  19. Chilly says:

    Great post, Pete! It seems like far too often that we take the approach of viewing everything with a ‘what’s wrong with it’ attitude or perspective. Simply by seeking ‘what’s right with it’ will help us choose to seek something positive both in others and ourselves.

    Great challenge to start the week!

    Chilly’s last blog post..Still Learning…

  20. gitz says:

    It’s all about forming habits, I think. There are many people whose first instinct is to criticize or be negative and the reasoning is, “It’s just my nature.” There is some truth to that, but it’s in our choices and our habits that we create who we want to be… what our nature will become. As I continue to remove my plank, splinter by splinter, it’s done because I choose to every day… not always because I feel like it, but because I want it.

    gitz’s last blog post..Mental Health Movie Days

  21. karen says:

    Great stuff. I’m constantly challenged by the “religion” in me, including this whole speck vs plank thing. I’m learning to ask myself questions before I speak. It’s easier than prying my foot out of my mouth.

    karen’s last blog post..The Narrow Gate

  22. Randi :) says:

    Thanks for that Pastor Pete. I repent from the judgement I find myself making about others… just because they simply are at a different place than me.

    I find that I can not associate with any one group of christians. I’m not in an attractional thing… not in a missional.. not emerging… I’m not anything… and so oftentimes I feel I can side with one and criticize another.. but GOd really checked me on that today…. that instead… I should just find what I agree with in each of my group of friends/church leaders… and encourage that out of them.

    We have to trust each other’s hearts. That we are acting on the “information” we have on this point (information = our own experience, knowledge, perspective). We have to trust each other’s hearts and give each other the benefit of the doubt that we’re on the same team.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of this post. Thank you for the reminder to focus on what we are unified in (Him) and not focus on the disagreements!!!

    Randi :)’s last blog post..What Pleases God – Part 9

  23. Pete Wilson says:

    @Randi, I loved the way you said, “we have to trust each others hearts.”

  24. joseph says:

    Nice Pete…
    You are obviously well rested.

    Not much I can say to this…except I agree.
    And I have probably been guilty of this many a time.

    joseph’s last blog post..Simon Says

  25. Jeff Honnold says:

    Good stuff Pastor Pete. I think the problem is that it’s easy to find that 10% and just focus on that. We remember that one thing that the pastor said on Sunday morning that just rubbed us the wrong way, or that one song that we couldn’t stand because the vocalist was out of tune and just feel like we’re entitled to tell someone.

    We’ve been trained by society to be critical of everything. Look at American Idol – people love Simon because he’s usually looking at the negative. He’s a killjoy. And as much as we may hate to admit it a lot of times we agree with him and so that makes us feel better as we feel it validates us!

    It’s HARD for us to disregard what we don’t like and to focus on what was good, what we enjoyed – but as you noted in one of your follow-up comments it’s essential if we are going to build relationships. And we can’t share Christ with people if we haven’t begun a relationship with them.

    Oh, and I hope you don’t mind but I’ve “borrowed” your idea and am starting today with the book of Mark over at my site as that is what our congregation is working through during Lent.

    Jeff Honnold’s last blog post..Be Prepared – Mark:1

  26. Yeah, I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness actually and how/why am I so quick to judge people and justify my lack of love and forgiveness based on whatever it is they are doing wrong rather then just loving them and moving forward. It (whatever the circumstance) has absolutely NOTHING to do with me. Nothing. I have been holding on to so much garbage – so much nothingness that holds me down and really it would be way free-er to release them and me and LOVE them and let the situation go. Why do I continually do this to myself? So lame!

    kristiapplesauce’s last blog post..Grow.

  27. Josh says:

    We have been looking at evangelism and have lived in the thought that Christians (and the way they treat one another) have become the greatest barrier for those without Christ to join His family. Amazing that Jesus didn’t have a model – He is the model. If we focused our efforts on lifting Him up, imagine what He could do! Great post.

    Josh’s last blog post..How much do you have to hate someone…

  28. Tyler Jewell says:

    This is a demon of mine. Being a blunt person and being critical or pessimistic doesn’t work too well. It’s something that I’ve had to really take the axe to over the last few years. By the grace of God I’m not near as bad as I used to be, but it’s still something I fight ya know?

    Tyler Jewell’s last blog post..I’ve lost it.

  29. paula says:

    Yup – I’m so there on this! And am actually dealing with a scenario now. Have had some concerns about an approach that a particular group of people have with those who attempt to work with them. I’ve worked very hard to test my motives and decided that it was best to let it go and not address it. However, recently, there are others whom have vented the same concerns to me (not even knowing that I shared those views). Sadly, these views are not positive…and I get nervous even thinking of bringing them up. So when do we know whether it’s something worthwhile to broach or continue to let go? I’ve put this on my daily discussion board with God to either relieve me of this burden or give me the strength to approach this group by revealing my own personal motives for saying something.

    This is a great motive checker – thanks Pete!

  30. DisneyCyndi says:

    Amen, Brother (oh, its ok if I call you brother…lol?)

    DisneyCyndi’s last blog post..Sunday Mind Dump (through the eyes of the wife).

  31. AO says:

    Perfectionism complex. We all talk and confess about how “imperfect” we are, but given the chance we jump at the opportunity to expose others imperfection. Without Jesus and his example of peace, mercy and grace; without His model of forgiveness we’d truly suck at life! And most often still do….

  32. kc says:

    I think this should be a regular installment of without wax….maybe call it ‘Soapbox Monday’
    You’re so right. It would be better to stand for things rather than bash things. It’s better to raise good, respectful questions than to demean or destroy. It’s more helpful to the Kingdom to work together rather that to tear apart.
    In our expression….which I like to affectionately refer to as “mega-missional”, :-) I feel pulled by both camps and find myself in the middle of lots of opposing views. Thanks for calling us all toward unity. We need it!

    kc’s last blog post..Organic Leadership Review (1 of 4)

  33. Randi :) says:

    I agree..t I love it when you show some GUSTO Pastor Pete. Soapbox Monday every day!! I 2nd that. hearhear!

    Randi :)’s last blog post..What Pleases God – Part 9

  34. Mark Bailey says:

    AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! Preach it brother!
    Awesome truth and if people listen, it is what God has been saying through a lot of people lately. I just did a sermon on the very subject. God bless you!

  35. Pete Wilson says:

    @DisneyCyndi, you can call me brother anytime. :)

  36. jabberfrog says:

    I can be the chief offender in this area if I’m not careful. My need for validation brings about an ugly tendency to rip others’ to pieces… it’s really sad when it’s all over semantics. Those are my red flags, telling me my heart and mind are out of alignment with my Father’s.

  37. [...] church” these days. In the last several days I have been hit by several other blogs here and here that seem, at least to me, to be addressing this issue. Then I saw the sign above and I realized [...]

  38. Jan Owen says:

    Thank you Pete. It’s so true. Sometimes we’re so busy “defending truth” (or so we say) that we never show love, build community or learn from one another. Jesus said the world would know we belong to Him by how we love one another, not by how we defend our position! (or theology!)

    Jan Owen’s last blog post..Should Christians (or Pastors) Attend or View "R-Rated" Movies?

  39. Got here late Pete. I am ashamed to say I was one of those “us four no more” type of guys. I was right and everyone else was wrong. Then one day God opened my eyes and said, “Hey jerk! Who died and let you take my place?” (Okay so those weren’t His exact words but they are close…:) ) It took awhile but I find myself a lot less critical and judgmental and much more “inclusive.” I use that term carefully for obvious reasons but I so over arguing about petty thing that don’t amount to a hill of beans. I pray God will continually open my eyes to His work. Great post Pete!

    bill (cycleguy)’s last blog post..Imitating Christ

  40. Gina T says:

    I am enjoying reading in Matthew and the posts you share. I definately need to be more concerned about the log in my eye but I like you in some warped way feel better at times criticizing the plank in my brother’s eye. The more I read the more I realize I need to love more. A genuine love seems to cover the plank.

  41. Pete Wilson says:

    @Bill, thanks for your honesty man. Isn’t God’s grace amazing?

  42. Cindy Beall says:

    Quite frankly, I have too many specks in my own eye to be focusing on someone else. I still know I need to stand up for truth, which I do, and teach it to my children, which I am, but I’ve got enough issues in my life to keep me busy.

    Can I get an amen?

    Cindy Beall’s last blog post..The Sky, It Is Big

  43. Pete Wilson says:

    I’ll give you an amen Cindy!

  44. minnow says:

    May the amen on this one grow 100 fold!

    minnow’s last blog post..Off the Top of My Head

  45. i am LOVING the 28 days challenge…its been such a refreshing thing! i am blogging as i go, and its awesome. thanks for suggesting it!

    grace s. cartwright’s last blog post..tiny fingers and a priestly blessing.

  46. i am LOVING the 28 days challenge…its been such a refreshing thing! i am blogging as i go, and its awesome. thanks for suggesting it!

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