He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Over the last seventeen years I have met several people who lead the church in various capacities, and I have studied them closely when I could. I have discovered that the better leaders had a few traits in common, and one of them has been constant introspection with the desire to correct mistakes and rectify errors in one’s life.
This would be taking the advice that Jesus offers in today’s reading. I know that we can interpret it in many ways, but simply put what Jesus is saying is this: if you have a speck in your eye, you cannot see clearly. And when you cannot see clearly, there is a danger that you will stumble. And if you are leading somebody, they will stumble too. Nothing complicated, really. We can see that it is sound advice. We need to take the speck out of the eye.
As anybody knows, it is very hard to take a speck out of the eye when it gets there, but the first thing is discovering where it is lodged. That usually involves the use of a mirror. Our mirror is the word of God, which is the only thing that can tell us what is wrong in our lives. We really have no other moral compass that we can follow other than Scripture, and we might not like what it tells us. But then who likes having a speck in the eye?
The second thing to do is to get the speck out of the eye. The easiest way is to have somebody help, either by blowing into the eye, or by using the wet end of a cloth to get it out. In this case, what works in the world also works spiritually, and a good, trustworthy friend—or spiritual guide—can help us get things right in our lives. Every good Christian leader has such a person to help him (or her).
We don’t need to be leaders to follow these practices; we all need to follow them. And following these practices might make us leaders, because those who are clear sighted can see the way better, and the surefooted way they walk in the world, make others want to follow them. Don’t you think?
Go on, then. Find those specks in your eyes and get rid of them. I’m gonna look for them in mine.