Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, “Surely I can’t look that old”? An elderly woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name.
Suddenly, she remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that she had a secret crush on, way back then?
Upon seeing him, however, she quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way, way too old to have been her classmate….or was he?
After he examined her teeth, she asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.
“Yes. Yes. I did…I’m a Morgan Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.
“When did you graduate?” She asked.
He answered, “In 1959. Why do you ask?”
“You were in my class!” She exclaimed.
He looked at her closely…and then he asked, “What did you teach?”
It’s easy, isn’t it, to look at others our age and see all the changes they’ve gone through — the wrinkles they added, the hair they’ve lost, and not realize that we have changed in exactly the same way? “Surely I can’t look that old!”
It’s easy to do the same thing spiritually. We see the spiritual “wrinkles” in others. We see what’s lacking in their lives that ought to be there. “Surely I’m not that sinful!” And, all the while, they are looking at us, unaware of those problems in their own lives, but they see the same blemishes in our lives!
Jesus didn’t use the imagery of wrinkles and hair loss. Rather, he used the imagery of dust and planks to make the same point.
“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)
Let’s be honest enough to look in the mirror and say, “You know, I really do look that old!” And let’s be honest enough to look into the mirror of God’s Word and say, “You know, I really do have these sins in my life.” Only when we use a mirror on ourselves rather than a magnifying glass on others will we begin to see some development in our spiritual lives.
Alan Smith email@example.com