Removing the Plank

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. Matt. 7:1, 2, NIV.

He was just a little guy, barely 6 years old, and he was afraid. Who wouldn’t be with a BB pellet embedded in his eye? Equally fearful were the young parents, who had rushed him at dusk to our inner-city emergency department.

As I examined the injured eye, I noted behind the lower lid an ugly round blot in the delicate membrane, as if someone had poked him with a nail. Here was the pellet’s portal of entry. Somewhere in the depths lay the errant and malignant sphere of metal. X-rays could locate it precisely, and perhaps a skilled eye surgeon would later dissect it out and still preserve the vision. Maybe.

But first, to complete the examination. As the mother sat in her corner and sobbed softly and as the father white-knuckled her hand, I averted the lower lid. With thumb and finger I sought a better look at the ugly point of entry. Perhaps I could determine the direction that the pellet had taken as it bludgeoned its way through the delicate tissue. While comforting my little patient, and holding steady my position, I placed my opposite index finger well below the margin of the lid and squeezed gently. Suddenly, miraculously, the shining metallic orb welled up to the surface, squeezing through the hole and into my eager hand. Placing it on a white square of sterile gauze, I passed it to the happy parents.

BB guns fired indiscriminately at dusk by a careless neighbor boy can be a scourge on defenseless eyes. And removal is rarely so sure or so simple. Yet how easy it is to remove the proverbial mote from a neighbor’s eye and fail miserably at finding it in our own! Jesus says, “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” (Matt. 7:5, NIV).

Today let’s opt anew for introspection—to see ourselves as others see us, and to refrain from judging others.Lord, don’t let me be a hypocrite, judging and criticizing others when I have so much in my own life that needs to be cleaned up!

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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