The job was easy enough – replace two ceiling fans at my mom’s house.
Removing an old fan is easy. A few turns of the screws, a few twists of the wires, and down it comes. Installing each fan is just that much different than the one before so I consulted with the instructions. That’s right. A man consulted the instructions. Now that you’re impressed, things begin to turn.
I had my glasses on, not safety glasses mind you, but it wasn’t the protection that I needed on this given day. Pieces of popcorn stucco repeatedly fell from the ceiling showering me with dust and sparkles.
With the new mounting bracket installed and the base near completion, a single piece of stucco found its way into my eye. Instinctively I rubbed, but to no avail. I hurried to the sink to splash water into my eye. That wasn’t working. I stuck my head under the tap and tried to let the water flow over my eye. That didn’t work. My eye was irrigated with saline solution. That didn’t work. That tiny boulder wouldn’t wash away.
Since none of us could actually see anything in my eye, I decided to sleep on it figuring that it had been flushed out and that I must now just be feeling the discomfort of a badly scratched eye.
The next morning, though, I knew something was wrong. I had my wife drive me to the hospital where I was soon meeting with a doctor to explain what had happened. He put a few drops of anesthetic in my eye, which immediately soothed the pain.
It was a beautiful feeling of sudden comfort.
He tipped my head back to examine my eye with care. With the quick swipe of a Q-tip, he captured the tiny speck that hid out under my eyelid. That speck which caused such pain and irritation was removed giving me immediate relief. The damage remained, though. I had scratched my eye and it would be sore for a few days.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said in Matthew 7:3-5, “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
I didn’t have a figurative log in my eye, but the mere speck itself gave be reason to pause and know that life as I knew it had stopped. Matthew Henry said in his commentary on this passage, “Our own sins ought to appear greater to us than the same sins in others.” Had the need arisen, I could not have helped anyone get anything out of their eye. I was too burdened with my own. And sin is often the same. Helping someone out of their sin while burdened with your own is helpful to neither you or the person you are trying to help.
The Word declares in Mark 2:7, "…Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." Sometimes we face challenges or sin in our lives that can’t be resolved by our own efforts. Sure, there are times that we need to look to a brother or a sister to help, but there also times when we need to look well beyond our own abilities and solely to the Great Physician to help. The ceiling fans came with instructions to get the job done, and so does our life.