Plank-Eyed Saint

March 2, 2018

“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.” Luke 6:41-42 NIV

It was 1983 and I was busy trying to remain invisible while making my way through the jungle maze of middle school.

A place I didn’t fit.

A place where mishaps mean life sentence.

I had an affinity for outcasts, nerds, those viewed as losers – anyone on the outside looking in because I didn’t fit in either.

I heard the rumor and knew instinctively it was true.

The rumor that was no rumor – my friend is gay.

My heart was instantly burdened, heavy for my friend because I knew what it meant – isolation, ridicule and social suicide.

I didn’t care about her being gay – my heart hurt for what was to come.

As a young girl, I wasn’t sure what to say, how to reach out or if it was okay with God to be her friend.

I decided to ask my pastor.

I’m thankful for words of grace spoken to an earnest, impressionable heart.

My pastor told me God loves my friend.

He said homosexuality is sexual sin – like sex outside of marriage is sin.

And the Bible says having angry thoughts toward a person is the same as murder.

Looking with lust is the same as adultery.

My pastor told me without Jesus, we are all destined for death – that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the good news.

He said to love my friend.

I left the conversation feeling relieved.

Relieved and angry.

If sin is sin, why do people point fingers at some and not others? Click To Tweet

People who lie go to church every Sunday.

Why are liars welcome but not people who are gay?

My young heart burned with the hypocrisy.

It was wrong. I knew it was wrong.

I read my Bible and understood Jesus came for sinners. He didn’t turn away from the woman at the well.

He stopped the stoning.

Jesus reached out to people living in sin.

There must have been people who were homosexual during Jesus’ time on earth yet He never singled them out.

Jesus loves everyone.

He died for all.

People Jesus died for are set aside and labeled worse than.

People God loves.

People created in His image.

Anger is murder.

Lustful eyes adultery.

I’m a plank-eyed saint when I’m more concerned with other people’s sin than my own.

“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.” –Jesus

I minimize my sin and focus on yours.

I feel better about myself and deny the ways I fall short.

Search the Bible – Jesus never judged.

He loved sinners and saints.

Prodigals and priests.

Shepherds and sheiks.

When religious leaders brought a woman caught in sexual sin to Jesus, He said,

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

They left.

He was the One without sin, the One who could throw the stone and didn’t.

Here’s what happens next:

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 NIV

Neither do I condemn you.

Jesus calls us all to leave lives of sin.

Put down my life.

Take up His cross.

Follow.

Pursue and go after.

Accept His authority.

Listen and obey.

Watch steadily and imitate.

Follow doesn’t mean make up my own rules and decide who gets Jesus and who doesn’t.

It doesn’t mean becoming the sin police.

If I follow Jesus, I do what He does – love God, love people.

Love that bends, reaches, leans in.

Follow means He leads.

I can’t but He can.

In my weakness, He is strong.

“Come, Follow Me.”

It’s not a one time invitation.

Faltering feet take baby steps of faith.

I fail, I fall.

“Follow Me. I make paths straight, heal wounds, restore sight, bring dead things to life.”

I learn it’s not about them but me and how and where I decide to walk.

By His wounds, I am free.

Jesus loves me this I know – me and you, us and them.

He loves us and died for all – there are no exceptions.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
More about Liz

I'm a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid -off approach to life. (Brace yourself, this might hurt.)

15 Comments
    1. Jesus loves me this I know!!! I also know Jesus loves everyone. All people!! Sin is Sin!! All Sin is the same in God’s eyes none is different! Thank you Liz for sharing this post it’s Gods Truth and it tells me That Jesus is the Judge not people. It’s a great teaching for understanding how Amazing God’s Grace is! He loves us all. He created us in His image. He wants us to walk in loveand this Truth is insightful us to choose to walk in Love and not Judge!

      1. Hi my friend and sister! He does love us so very much. It hurts my heart when people are pushed to the side. Jesus died for ALL – no exceptions. I love your kind, beautiful heart and your love for Him. Thank you for your love and support. I value you.

    1. Well said Liz

      You know when religion is talking because it always points the finger not realising that freedom comes from looking in.
      It’s a touchy subject so good on you for standing up.
      Love your work.
      Tony C

      1. Hi Tony! So nice to meet you….excellent comment. I love that – “religion points the finger….freedom comes from looking in” Such a great point. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment – it sincerely means so much. I pray God continues to use it. ❤️

    1. This is such a wonderful point. We must have righteous anger for the sin, not the sinner. God hates ALL sin, but no sin defines who we are. And no sin is worse or better than any other. It’s what we do with that sin – seek forgiveness and fight against it or give in – that matters. Thanks for shedding light and truth on a tough subject!

      1. Hi Emily! We all need Jesus, that’s for sure. Our sin may look different but it’s all the same to God. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment – it sincerely means a lot to me. Thank you ❤️

    1. Mmm, truth. Liz, I’m with you on hating to see anyone left out. It hurts tremendously when others forget who they are, who others are, and how we’re interdependent. We’re all forgiven sinners with infinite worth in gracious God’s eyes. We belong to each other and comprise Christ’s body. Following Him (or trying to, anyway) leaves me with no energy for anything else! Thank you for sharing your heart, Liz.

      1. Hi Pearl! I agree with you – following Him takes all of me and when it doesn’t, it usually means I’m distracted and detoured. I love how you say, “We are all forgiven sinners with infinite worth in gracious God’s eyes. We belong to each other and comprise Christ’s body.” Wonderful words from a loving heart. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. ❤️

    1. Great story. Thank you for sharing. It is a great reminder for me. I’ve ministered to many gay people. They live in confusing times when the world says their lifestyle is OK and yet for so long they were told their sin was worthy of death. There was a time when heterosexual sex outside of marriage carried a similar condemnation, but eventually it became the norm in our culture.

      For the Hebrews living under the Mosaic Law, both acts were potentially capital offenses. Jesus Christ… God in flesh came to set the captives like myself free. Most times I never have to say one word to those I minister about their sin. They know it all too well. What they need is Christ in me to love them, not condemn them, and give them hope that they can be set free too.

      One the other side of the coin, when needing to be Salt & Light in this world, there is a time to boldly proclaim what is right and wrong. To call evil, evil and good, good. The Holy Spirit is always able to lead and guide so it’s His voice rather than my own. I erred on both sides… speaking out when I should keep silent. And keeping silent when I should speak out.

      This keeps me listening for his voice more and more!

      1. Hi my new friend! I love you and all you say. I agree with you….there must be a mix of grace and truth wrapped in unconditional love. I think most of us are aware of our sin and the ways we fall short. What we need is the love of God and His remedy – salvation in the form of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. I believe so many who have same sex attraction believe a lie. The lie that God rejects them when in actuality He loves them so much He died for them. God bless you and your ministry. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave such an important comment.

    1. Hi Liz,
      Plank-eyed saint, what a great blog post title.
      What I like about this blog post is that it’s specific, beginning with a story.
      Our pastors are good sources to turn to in times when we need someone to talk to about pressing matters in life.
      We can learn from your openness and honesty in this blog post.
      I like what your pastor said to you:
      “without Jesus, we are all destined for death – that’s why the gospel of Jesus Christ is called the good news.”
      It does not matter if people are gays, straight, or what they are.
      We’re all sinners.
      Many churches today build up a wall between the church members and those outside church.
      It’s vital to remember that it’s a fundamental thought in Christianity that we’re all sinners in the eyes of God.
      It’s also a relief that it’s like this.
      Thank you for a positive, honest blog post.
      With love,
      Edna Davidsen

      1. Hi Edna! Thank you for your support and positive words of encouragement. It so hurts my heart when we as Christians pick on certain people groups. God doesn’t do that – He loves us all – You get it. I love being part of the community you are creating. Thank you for what you do – blessings sister. ❤️

    1. Hi Liz! Thanks for your post. In today’s culture, this is very timely. I always like to err on the side of grace. I mean, God loves me and never rejected me even when I was the worst of sinners, so who am I to judge? And yet, once I decided to become a Christian, I had to leave some of the sinning I was doing behind me. I had to repent, or turn away from it and turn instead to Jesus. He sure helped me to sin less, albeit I am not perfect at it. I am better, though, than I was 30 years ago when I first accepted Jesus into my heart. As Christians, we are not to judge those who do not claim to be Christians. We cannot hold our standards of obeying God’s word against others who have probably never even read the Bible! So, yeah, we love people first. We love them into the Kingdom, and then it is God who gently guides that person to repent, as needed. God bless you!

      1. Hi Lisa! Thank you for reading and leaving an excellent comment! I have nothing to add…perfectly said – God bless you as well. I so value your input and thoughts. ❤️

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