Fix Yourself First
“. . . first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Mt.7:5).
Some passages in the Bible are noteworthy for their vivid imagery, such as the one above. How easy – and humorous – it is to envision a man anxiously seeking to remove a tiny speck from another’s eye all while he has a large plank sticking out of his own.
Scriptures like these do more than present clear mental images. They provide challenges that lie close to the heart.
How often we can be like the man in the picture – quick to critique others, but loathe to evaluate ourselves. We put the motives and actions of others in the worst possible light, while assuming our motives and actions are always pure and justified. We get preoccupied with others faults, and forget about our own.
Of course, the point that Jesus was making as he presented this picture is that this is folly. We each have our own issues to deal with. And they are often bigger than those we feel compelled to address in the lives of others. So, wisdom dictates we must learn to fix ourselves first.
Fixing ourselves first, though, is not something we’re all that keen to pursue. Picking at the faults of others comes easier than wrestling with our own flaws. But dealing with ourselves first is what we must do if we are going to see all that we need to improve our lives.
And what are we likely to see if we examine ourselves and are willing to make necessary changes?
First, we’ll see how much of the trouble we face in our lives is self-inflicted. When you work on fixing yourself first, you stop blaming others for your problems, and you realize much of your pain is brought on yourself.
Along with this, we’ll also see some hope for a new life. Our hearts are capable of great self-deception. But when we look at ourselves as we really are, we are also able to see what our lives could be.
Finally, we can see clearly in order to offer others genuine help. If we insert ourselves to help others without attending to our own issues, our efforts will always be tainted by our own agenda. But as we see ourselves in an honest light, we are positioned to see others as people as well and help them accordingly.
So, what would happen if you got serious about fixing yourself first and removed a little ocular lumber?
Initially, you’d probably not like what you see. You might feel some shame and embarrassment. You might need to ask forgiveness. And you’ll most definitely see areas that need change.
But that’s good news. Because seeing your need to change is the first step to change coming about. The next step is to seek the One who faithfully shows us our need and gives us the grace to address our problems.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps.139:23,24).