Many years ago, I attended a men’s retreat that had two well marked cabins for sleeping: Snorers and Non-Snorers. I stayed in the non-snorer cabin. Apparently, a friend couldn’t read. At breakfast, my weary non-snorer cabin mates showed up a bit cranky complaining about “Terry” (the name has been changed to protect the loud, obnoxious snorer). A little later Terry, bright eyed and bushy tailed, entered the dining hall. No one said a word before the fully rested Terry proclaimed, “Wow fellas, I slept great. I’m so glad we had cabins for snorers and non-snorers, I didn’t hear one guy snoring all night!”
If looks could kill, I would have been officiating Terry’s funeral later that week. My friend Terry was oblivious to his own “sins.” Eventually the rest of the fellas had an “intervention,” Terry learned of his noisy habit and switched cabins for the following evening.
A few weeks ago, I ran into a lady who was oblivious to things much more important than snoring. Years prior, she left her church because of the (her words) “toxic environment” of the church. Shortly after her exit, her former pastor said this self-absorbed, smug lady had left the church in a “blaze of condemning social media glory.” The toxicity of his church improved (his words) 1000% with her departure. She was a purveyor of bad attitudes, gossip and lies. She was the one causing much of the trouble and with her gone, church life became a joy again. Sadly, she thought the troubles were because of everyone else but her. She was oblivious to her own sins (no quotation marks required).
Jesus warned such people when he asked: “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?” (Matthew 7:3)
Our proclivity to see our neighbor’s speck and miss our plank is why David prayed:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
David prayed for God Almighty to be the Eye Examiner. He didn’t want to be oblivious to his own plank-like sins and shortcomings. If he had strayed in devotion, David pleaded for God to return him to the way of righteousness. Likewise, if we are singularly focused on our neighbor’s specks while missing our own plank, then we need to hear from the Lord too. It’s humbly, reverently, periodically asking the Great Optometrist to do an eye exam for any glaring plank of poor attitudes and sinful behaviors, so that we might see clearly to the way everlasting! If (when) the Lord faithfully points out a blind spot, then our most appropriate response is repentance. Only then will we experience the healing balm of our Savior.