When I get something in my eye I go just a little CrAzY.
Whatever it is. Soap. Mascara. Eyelash. I really CAN NOT function. My thought process becomes totally devoted to the fact THAT SOMETHING IS IN MY EYE. I start trying to find it- first pulling my lid down and sticking my finger in it (like putting more things in there is actually going to help). I try not to rub it, which is what everyone tells you not to do, but is the very thing you want to do so badly. It's all I can think about. I am obsessed with the feeling that there is something most certainly where it should not be. Do not talk to me. Don't ask me any questions. I can't think. I won't be listening. I have something IN MY EYE!!!
What we are told to do when we have something in our eye is to close the eye and let our own tears take care of getting it out. I first learned this important nugget of first-aid in third grade when I got playground sand in my eye and the school nurse used a wet, grainy, brown paper towel to get it out and thus scratched my cornea. I had to wear an eye patch for weeks. (By the way, there is a statute of limitations as to how long you can tell a little blonde girl to pretend she is a pirate and not have her permanently damaged). Which is probably why I freak out when I get a THING in my eye. I don't want to be a pirate again.
When I am done losing my mind over The Thing, or when I am just plain exhausted, I often ask someone (usually and always my husband) if he sees anything in my eye. His answer is usually and always "no" and is also followed by "just close your eyes and let the tears take care of it." Such a wise man.
The closing of the eyes. The tears. The waiting. It takes time, patience, and trust. I give the body that God designed exactly what it needs: time to do its thing. I am a patient person (except when a Mack truck has parked itself over my iris). I can do this. All I have to do is pray- because that's how I have learned to trust. When I pray, I give every concern, every fear, every frustration to the only One Who can make all of them vanish in the wind. As surely as He flooded the earth He can rinse out my annoying little speck. I try my best in these times to focus only on Him. Because I am miserable.
I know I am not alone in this (maybe the entire freak out part); no one likes to have something in her eye. And I do believe women suffer more from this than men, unless the man works in a place with lots of cinders and sand and such. And, by the way, hats off to you, contact lens wearers, for you must be able to endure anything if you can function with something rolling around in your eye/head/lids. Wow.
So that's one reason why Matthew 7:3 really hits me. I can't imagine looking for anything in anyone else's eye when I have something in mine! Remember, I am in a state of non-functioning right about now. I am consumed with my own issues. I am in no position to deal with anyone else's mess when I am so messed up myself!
“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?"
Yes, I understand this is about much more than a lesson in human behavior when struggling with a foreign object. This parable is, in fact, an old one. So old that the Pharisees would have recognized it. So old that it would have caught their attention and it would have caused them to take notice of the One speaking it. Yet so new and fresh in its application that today the verse hits me right between my plank-filled eyes. I have no right to be critical. I have no right to be judgmental. Certainly a right to be prayerful and cautious and concerned- that can lead to productive conversations--and hopefully changed hearts and circumstances. But there is no place for prejudice in the Kingdom of God. And, dear readers, unless we are engaged in dialogue with the ones we are being so judgmental of, and unless we are building relationships that can bridge these gaps, we are doing Christ an injustice and we are judging others simply based on what we see. With our eyes. That are full of "junk."
I also love the exaggeration used in this passage. I just do! For all of His patience, all of His longsuffering, Jesus seems to be totally exasperated here, and once again uses His wit to make such a profound point, all without being hurtful or rude. He didn't - and doesn't- need to belittle or hurt anyone to make a point. He never did. He never will. Certainly Jesus' words stir us and convict us, or at least they should. But His words never, ever mock or boast or exploit. For that is not the Heart of a Savior. Not the heart of my Savior.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:17
So as I go through these days of specks and spots and planks, I take the advice given. I close my eyes, let the tears come- and along with them, the prayers- and I wait for the foreign object, the thing that does not belong, the misery to go away.