The Plank In Your Own Eye

We make an Olympic sport of pointing out other people’s mistakes.

An Olympic athlete stands on the podium, gold medal around her neck, and fails to put her hand on her heart for the national anthem. We who could never do what she has done are offended.

A presidential candidate’s wife poses topless twenty years ago, before she knew the man who was not then running for president, and we rush to condemn her.

A singer wears too little on stage and shows us more than she intended to. After we’ve had our fill of looking at the pictures, we who have neither her talent nor her beauty excoriate her for her lack of modesty.

A presidential candidate fails to wear a flag pin on his lapel. We who have no idea what it’s like to run for president attack him for lack of patriotism.

Meanwhile, we demand forgiveness for our own mistakes.

When we fail to deliver a product on time at work and our supervisor takes us to task, we say he’s being unreasonable.

When we forget to make a phone call our husband or wife asked us to make and they get angry, we ask them to calm down.

When we cook supper for our child and forget she doesn’t like pepper on her chicken, we tell her to be grateful and eat it anyway.

When we’re late to an after-work meeting, we excuse ourselves by claiming we had to work late–whether it’s true or not.

What would it take for us to extend the kind of grace to others we demand for ourselves?

What would it take for us to judge our own mistakes the same way we judge those of others?

When will we learn to remove the plank, or the stick, or the log from our own eye before pointing out the speck in another’s?

I have no answers today, nor even suggestions. Just questions to think about.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.