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 out of your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:3-5
Today as I was praying about what to share He led me to the book of Matthew and I was reading I came across these verses. Obviously, I have read them or heard them taught numerous times over years as well. Most of those times it was taught as though it was a joke. I have even seen it portrayed as a skit where a guy with planks was running around, running into things, and at the same time he was busy giving orders and telling everyone around him what to do. Personally, I think that we tend to miss the seriousness of this illustration because of the obvious ridiculousness this illustration paints of a guy with planks in his eyes, trying to get at a speck in someone elses.
I say this because as I read it today the Lord very clearly spoke another verse to me. It was ...Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from, Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Psalm 51:10-13
If you and I are truly to be used in His service and to ...teach others His ways or to see ...sinners converted to Him then we need to start with ourselves. The cry of our heart must always be ...Create in me a clean heart, give me a stedfast spirit. . We must know true repentance ourselves before it can ever resonate with others through our words and service to Him.
Did you see the key to keeping a clean heart and a stedfast spirit and thus "operating without planks?" "...Do not cast me away from, Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." We must be in His presence if we are to reveal it to others and WE MUST HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT to be in Him. This verse implies that David, 'a man after God's own heart' understood that if he was removed away from from God's presence then that meant the Holy Spirit would also be removed and taken away from him.
One other thing I would like to note ...too often people tend to immediately think about others when they hear this illustration. I think people tend to think that Jesus was talking to the scribes and pharisees when He taught this but the truth is this is part of His Sermon on the Mount and it starts in Matthew 5. Verses one and two tell us "...And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them saying, ..." He was teaching His disciples. He was teaching those who followed Him to hear all that He had to say and He was telling them to start by making sure they check themselves first!
"First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5
Relationship with Him is a personal thing and ... before ... we can share Jesus Christ with others we must get personal with HIM first! Then and only then, will we ever be able to serve Him as we help others with their 'specks.'