Monday, March 18, 2013

Seeing the Problem

"then you will see clearly"
Matthew 7:5

So I had some lint in my eye a few weeks ago.  Like a tiny little thread or something.  Nothing unusual.  It happens, right?  But it made an impression on me.  Sort of a Scriptural tap-on-the-shoulder.  

It was at my Awesome Girl's volleyball tournament.  I was there with just my Amazing Boy, as the Apple of my Eye was out of town at a conference.  

So I was running the show.  Well, not the whole show, but the "get-everybody-in-my-family-where-they-have-to-be, when-they-have-to-be-there, with-what-they-need-to-have" show. 

My boy and I had just come into the arena... gymnasium... whatever that place is called.  There are about 50 volleyball games going on at once, in a giant warehouse-with-a-snack-bar kinda thing.  What's that called?

Anyhow, to get the court that your child is playing on, you sometimes have to walk past eight or ten other courts.  And you try to do this without getting in the way of, or distracting, any of the players, or blocking any of the spectators.  I had my purse, and a jacket, cuz it can be cold in there.  And I had a seat cushion.  So my hands were full.  We couldn't find a spot and sit down, because they game before ours wasn't over yet.  So my boy and I stood off to the side, waiting for the game to end. 

And I had something in my eye.  I thought it was my hair, cuz my bangs are getting kinda long, so I brushed the area around my eye with one finger, and thought I had taken care of the problem.  But a few minutes later, it was bugging me again, so I did the same thing again.  And again, I thought I'd eliminated the culprit.  

Then I thought it might be a stray eyelash, so I did that eyes-wide-open kinda blinking a few times.  But then a few blinks later, I could feel it again.  This went on several times, until we sat down, and I was able to put my stuff down, and have a steady enough hand to really pluck the offender out of its annoying position.  

Turned out it was a little curly thread or string of some kind.  Probably came off of my sweater.  But I kinda laughed at myself, because I'd tried so many times to get rid of it, the whole time thinking it was a hair or an eyelash, when it was neither.  

Naturally I started thinking about the verse in Matthew that talks about the speck in my neighbor's eye, and the plank in my eye.  It's a verse with a powerful point about judging others when things are not right in our own lives.  We do tend to see others' problems as being bigger or worse than our own. 

But this particular piece of lint taught me something else about that verse.  You see, I knew I had something in my eye, and I tried several times to remove it.  And each time I thought I had succeeded, until I blinked. 

I think we do the same thing with the metaphorical planks in our eyes.  We take a step or say a prayer to rid ourselves of our weakness, and with the slightest improvement, we think we are "cured".  

But the source of the problem in my eye was not the stray hair I thought it was.  If it had been, I would have eliminated it with one brushing motion, or a small toss of my head.  But I was all wrong about the source.  It was a smaller, trickier problem than I thought to rid myself of the irritant.  

So it is with our habitual sins.  Weaknesses that are firmly imbedded in our character are hard to remove.  It might take days, weeks, or even years of prayer to free ourselves from the temptation to fall back into old patterns.  Sometimes need to find the source, and always we need to know that we can't heal ourselves. 

 ~ "If we confess our sins, 
He is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" ~
1 John 1:9