Writing is one of those weird things where it’s easy for me to see the mistakes that others make. I’ve been a professional writer for years now, and I teach writing classes at the college level, so every error my students make stands out like big flashing signs screaming at me. It’s even worse when I read a book and spot a misspelling or a punctuation mark out of place because there are supposed to be professionals going over these things with fine-tooth combs. “Who publishes this rubbish?” I often snicker to my wife.
Yet when it comes to my own writing, I often make mistakes and miss my own errors all the time. I can’t even count the times I’ve read over some paper, article, or story I’ve written months or years ago, and I spot a misspelling or a grammatical faux pa.
Sometimes I wonder if this is the sort of thing that Jesus is talking about when He says, “”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?” (Matthew 7:3)
It’s no big thing to look at other people and see their mistakes. In fact I’ll tell you a secret you might not know, but everyone you’ll ever meet in this life will make a mistake, let you down, make you mad, lie, steal, cheat, and the list goes on. It’s part of our sinful nature. Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
But that verse includes you.
And I don’t know about you, but I often find that things that I want other people to fix, the things I notice first that others are struggling with, are the exact things I’m dealing with in my own life.
But Jesus doesn’t say to not help those who are having issues; He says, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
Here’s the best path to take when someone’s sin starts bothering you: kneel down, pray, and ask God to reveal if you’re having the same issue, and if so, repent, change, and then talk to the person who is having the problem. Often the path God leads you down while fixing your sin issue will give you insight and empathy for whomever it is that He leads you to help in their battle with sin.
Points for anyone who finds a grammatical mistake or misspelling in this article!