Today’s Gospel: Luke 6:39 -42
I’m always telling myself that I should tape the wise words that I read to my forehead. This passage from today’s Gospel reading deserves top billing:
“Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
Just call me Catherine, Queen Splinter Noticer and Remover. I really struggle with not noticing splinters–especially my husband’s. I take it upon myself to let him know that he needs to change or improve certain things. As far as hubbies go, Philip is a gem. In fact, he’s such a prince of a husband that he probably gets my friends’ husbands in trouble with the way he lovingly serves our family.
Nonetheless, I just can’t seem to help myself when it comes to fixing him up. I nit pick, demand, scold, get impatient, or throw my hands up in the air when I don’t see the behavior or results I want. My role as Queen Splinter Noticer and Remover really revved up when I started staying at home full time. Going about my day, I would notice things around the house left undone or done incorrectly according to me. A glob of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, a towel left on the floor, all noted on my mental grudge list. By the time Philip came home, I would have a laundry list of offenses filed as ammunition for a future blow-up. When a disagreement started brewing, BAM! I’d start rattling off the one-two punch of Philip’s offenses.
Four years and three children later, I wish I could tell you that I am ready to abdicate my royal position. Unfortunately, I still sit firmly upon that awful throne. My ways of noticing and removing splinters is more subtle, but subtle isn’t an improvement in behavior when I consider that “subtle” is the adjective used to describe the serpent in Genesis. When I’m busy removing and noticing splinters, I’m allowing that subtle serpent to creep into my marriage, fulfilling God’s promise to Adam that He “will put emnity between you and the woman.”
Fortunately for me (and Philip!), when I focus on my own personal training in discipleship, God has a way of revealing the beams in my own eyes and hiding the splinters in Philip’s. It’s easier to be forgiving, generous, patient and kind when God helps me to see my own shortcomings and my own need for forgiveness, generosity, patience, and kindness.
Do I recognize the beams in my own eyes? If not, when was the last time I did a thorough examination of conscience or went to receive absolution?
Loving Father, thank You for your infinite mercy. Please help me to readily forgive and extend the same mercy to my neighbors. Allow my neighbor’s faults and my own shortcomings to be invitations to take up the cross and learn how to love as You do. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Catherine Boucher