“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, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, 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 7:3-5
Today I want to talk about the second of Dallas Willard’s three tips for being a good leader: don’t pretend.
Straight from the mouth of Jesus, who gives us a hilarious illustration to make His point, the message — to not act holier than we really are — is crystal clear. If we were listening to the Lord speak in Aramaic as He did when He originally gave the Sermon on the Mount, the humor in His story would have been apparent. He paints a vivid picture of a guy walking around with a huge log jutting out of his eye, which prevents him from seeing anything clearly, let alone perceiving the smallest object in the eye of the guy next to him. If you or I came into a room with a huge plank protruding from our face, people would quickly move out of the way to protect themselves. This would make it virtually impossible to see clearly enough to find even an obvious flaw in the ones to our right or left. So the point is that we shouldn’t pretend to be something that we are not. It’s never wise (nor is it becoming) of a leader to assume that he or she knows better or is better when we are all flawed and subject to our own sin and shortcomings.
Friend, you don’t need to pretend! Remove the log from your own eye and lead with humility and compassion. When people come to you with their struggles, respond by saying things like, “I’ve had stuff in my eyes before so I know what it’s like.” Or, “You think your speck is bad, I used to have this log jutting out of my eye socket. Nearly killed me.” These kinds of validating and empathic statements prove to the one sharing that you see and care about their heart. Jesus Christ has set you free from the need to prove that you are perfect and has given you the tremendous privilege of walking in humility so that others see Him in and through your life!
Jesus, I don’t want to pretend that I am perfect. Help me to remove the plank from my own eye, and convict me when I am tempted to find a speck in the eye of another.
Do you pretend to be something that you are not?