As I am in the habit of doing this, I have temporarily removed the log in my eye to observe the specks in others. My judgment mode has been temporarily disengaged.
Consider Sue, Mary, and Liz. It goes without saying the these are not their real names. All three have been close friends with each other for a decade.
First is Sue. Divorced. 3 daughters. Owns her own business. She is vivacious, (I don’t know exactly what that word means but I rarely get the opportunity to use it.) diligent, funny, and very smart. She is enjoyable to be around, and is easy to talk to. She is a wonderful hostess, and is sensitive to others. As to her spiritual life, she says she is a “Christian”. Presently, her concerns are her children and grand children, and her relationship with the new man in her life. Sue doesn’t want to get married, and just wants a partner to travel with and date. The man in her life wants the “whole hog” relationship of getting married and living life as one.
Next is Mary. Single all her life. Works in IT. Maybe the most intelligent of the three. Loves tradition, and celebrates with enthusiasm holidays and birthdays. Is gentle, generous, and comes through in a crisis. She was active in ballroom dancing a few years back, and her enjoyment of it was obvious. Her only family is a sister who lives in Michigan. Mary identifies herself as a Roman Catholic. Due to health issues, they can only contact each other by phone, letter, or email. Her dog is probably the closest to her. She has invested much money in keeping him healthy. At present she is not dating. Also, she he has a debilitating eye condition that impairs her driving. Because of her introverted nature, she rarely has personal contact with friends or acquaintances.
Last is Liz. Liz is another divorced mother of 3 children. Devoted to them. Liz has sacrificed her time, wealth, and talents to see that they have been set up in life to succeed. She is very loyal, and has worked hard her whole life. If you ask her, Liz will tell you she is a christian. She has dated men since her divorce, but none of the relationships has gotten too serious. She laughs easily, and her laughter is contagious. Lately, her children have reached the point where they are becoming less dependent on her, and have all moved out. For the first time, Liz is alone. Some financial person has recently told her she doesn’t have enough money to survive retirement, and this has terrified her. She is presently in a radical downsizing period of her life.
Each of these women have locked themselves into a lifestyle choice that has, one way or another, restricted them from self growth, harmed their relationships, and caused them fear of the future. The interesting thing with them is they themselves have the log and speck way of looking at life.
Each woman can clearly identify what the other two’s issues are. They can see the damage the other two are allowing in their lives, as well as what the others can do to improve their situations. (The speck) None of them either recognizes the reality of their own predicaments, much less would take the steps needed to change them. (The log) As a result, Sue’s relationship with the present man is froth with arguments, breakups, and reconciliations. Mary is lonely, doesn’t socialize, and fears unemployment, isolation, and any change in her life whatsoever. Liz intensely fears growing old with no money, and is making irrational decisions based on what someone who sells retirement plans told her.
We all deal with the same situations. It is natural to see the problems and solutions easier in other lives better than we can see in ourselves. Jesus told us this would happen. Fortunately there is a remedy to what all of us go through.
First, we can find and cultivate healthy relationships. Spouses, family, and close friends, are more than ready to point these things out to us (they have specks and logs as well,)
Second, we can utilize professional resources like counselors and pastors. Its amazing what professional training in the hands of a competent practitioner can see and do. Additionally, I have found that books, particularly the Bible, can reveal harmful trends in my life and actions to avoid them.
The final key to being able to utilize what others see in your life is humility. You don’t have all the answers. Listening objectively, although tedious and painful, is the most effective way of overcoming your log.
Try it. When you are in a massive struggle in your life, look around and find the person that can give you an honest and correct appraisal. Listen. And be mindful no matter how ridiculous it sounds,