A comfy cabin built from logs in the eye

Today’s Moments With You email from Family Life includes the following text:

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Matthew 7:3

I’m sure you’ve had a disagreement (or more than one!) with each other that turned into a stalemate or brick wall. You didn’t really care if it came to a conclusion. You just wanted a truce. You wanted this thing behind you. You were tired of fighting. Maybe it started with an argument about the checkbook.

Maybe it had something to do with the in-laws. Maybe it was a difference of opinion on a parenting issue. But somewhere along the way, the conflict turned into much more. It took on a life of its own. Now you can hardly stand to be in the same room together.

Well, are you prepared to let reconciliation start with you? Are you ready to give up the notion that you’re mostly right? Deeper still, are you willing to strive to recapture the reality of what your marriage is all about–the transcendent beauty of reflecting God’s love on Earth?

I know that you may be thinking, When I’m hurt I don’t care about God’s glory. I just want to get even.

Don’t be ruled by your emotions. Instead, do it Jesus’ way: Take the log out of your eye. No matter what your spouse has done, no matter how misguided you think he or she has been, the key to real resolution is to start removing your log. Accept full responsibility for your part in this, and place the value of your mate and your relationship above the value of your own pride and your need to be right.

God wants more for you than being able to tolerate each other. He wants you to show forth His glory in the way you honor, love and respect each other.

Remove the logjam. And shoot for something higher.

Any log in your eye right now? What squabble of yours needs to end right now, with both of you saying, “It’s me. I’m sorry”?

Ask Almighty God to help you sacrifice pride for the grandeur of your marriage–so that it can reflect His love.

Lets consider this, my wise Christian friends. Can virtue become corrupt? That is a different question than “Can virtue be corrupted?”. Though the overlap they do not share a genesis.

Churchianity seems to love what I will call the oxymoron, nebulous absolutes. These take on the form of scripture derived cliche and rattle around the churchian tool box waiting for them to be needed to get them past a tight spot that only a dash of well quoted scripture can fix. The churchian hamster will turn its nose at secular morsels for the most part, but he will gobble these pellets until foundered.

Judge not , Log and toothpick, the other cheek, all things work for good, plans I have for you….etc. These are churchian cliches that comprise the movable guardrail of the churchian life.  Churchian churches build whole sermon series…..every single year…..around these scriptural cliches, sending armies of, in fact, un-churched people loosed upon the suburban neighborhoods of America.

The one in the topic above is ubiquitous in churchian marriage counseling and relationship advice. It pushed the right buttons of diminishing pride and self and elevating the idea of open ended servant-hood as the apogee of virtue. Think about how this is taken to action in the home, and who it is that is most  expected to wither beneath this soft shroud of selflessness.  It is not the one who is so in tune with the relationship because in churchian circles, the women has a 50 yard head start in  100 yard dash of marriage, so surely they will not be the ones putting pride before the relationship.

Finally, here is the crucial thing. In the Ephesians ordered marriage, is there a provision for always dropping what this would call you pride motivated side of an argument? Am I the only one who sees this as skid greasing for the female headed egalitarian model?



14 thoughts on “A comfy cabin built from logs in the eye

  1. My biggest issue with the way that that verse/concept is often used is that people will suggest or imply that one be absolutely perfect in the area under discussion before they are allowed to point out something the other person may be doing wrong. It’s really a very convenient dodge/deflection.

  2. The problem I have is they omit the possibility of issues with actual right and wrong, and they avoid any hierarchical considerations in the relationship.
    As described its fine if the argument is about which is better, chocolate or vanilla, it is not fine if its about a major expense, school issues, etc etc.

  3. When my husband is right and I am wrong (which is usually the case since I react from emotion first), he refuses to apologize just to end it peacefully. I have come to appreciate this about him over the years. It forces me to see myself in all my irrational feminine glory. When he is truly wrong, he will admit it. He will not however, indulge my sin for the sake of a faux peace that really isn’t true peace at all.

    But the bigger question is this one:

    Aren’t women the ones more likely to read this kind of stuff, and as such isn’t the message most directly targeted at them?

  4. If I were the typical feminist evangelical Christian I’d say that you are doing yourself a great disservice, and probably even harming yourself emotionally and spiritually by saying that your feelings based responses are wrong because that’s pretty much saying that your feelings and emotions are wrong and everyone knows that all feelings are equal and all need to be validated. Of course I”m not, and believe that to be a HUGE pile of hogwash.

  5. I’m ambivalent over this. The advice does seem to mostly be sound. Maybe I am missing something.

    I can see your point given the setting such advice is given in that it is a recipe for a mess, but the advice itself is still reasonable in a vacuum.

  6. I said to someone (a guy no less) who essentially followed his emotions and let them rule his life (You will be remarkably surprised to learn his life is a mess) basically the same thing. Don’t let your emotions lead, go so far in your case as to ignore them because you are currently ruled by them.

    Oddly this was taken as saying as saying “emotions don’t count” and he female counselor basically told him (so it seems) the exact opposite thing.

    He also had quite the hissy fit in his response. Unbelievable.

  7. What is a vacuum? I mean, the advice is fine if the argument is trivial. If the debate is about the budget, I simply cannot see that this advice is good. Same if its any objectively right or wrong thing.

  8. I agree, as advice for dealing with arguments that are trivial (and come on married people do have those) it is good advice. As advice for dealing with actual issues that have right and wrong answers it is really bad advice.

    If the advice was given to both men and women and applied equally to both, then as advice goes for dealing with relatively unimportant matters that are typically differences of opinion, it is good advice.

    That is what I meant by in a vacuum.

  9. The reason I asked was it is a slippery slope to see things that are superficially virtuous, but corrupted in application as a matter of routine. I think this problem may be worse in the US, though I cannot be sure as Ive only been in the UK with any frequency as a sample of the other English speaking world, and I know this problem isn’t as bad there.

  10. The problem with this is is that it is only half of the scripture. It doesn’t stop with removing the beam from your own eye–it ends with removing the splinter from your brother’s. It isn’t just about avoiding judgement, it is about doing it righteously. The writer says it is the key to real resolution. No it isn’t. It is merely the first step of resolution. The key is actually having the humility to see things honestly, to be humble as Paul describes himself as being–neither too high nor too low, in other words having a real perspective.
    Saying “it’s me, I’m sorry” is a nice ideal, but sometimes it won’t be.

  11. The hissy fit when it is suggested to someone from the “all feelings are equally valid” camp, that no sometimes facts matter more is usually fairly epic. Ironically it only proves the point that running your life entirely on emotion is a bad idea.

  12. Well, are you prepared to let reconciliation start with you? Are you ready to give up the notion that you’re mostly right?

    The issue I have with the advice is the preceding quote, which demonstrates that the author of the piece advocates diminishing truth for the sake of ‘reconciliation.’ Authentic reconciliation requires truth, so his statement is self contradictory on its face. No, a person should not be willing to give up the notion that they are mostly right, when in fact they may be right. I agree that in the hands of what I term the “Holy Hamster” in almost every case the woman will demand that the man give up his ‘notion that (he) is mostly right’ for the sake of ‘reconciliation,’ that is, agreeing with her. Many women (perhaps most) don’t see in themselves the sin of pride, so the advice will slide right past them as they seek to impose this model on their husbands who are quite evidently (in their eyes at least) prideful.

    As @soujounerscribe mentions above, the passage itself has a different meaning than simply avoiding judgment. I would go beyond to say that the plain meaning of the passage is to avoud hypocrisy, that is, we should be willing to acknowledge our own fault and limitation even as we
    seek to correct others.To concede truth for the sake of pseudo-reconciliation is to participate in a lie.

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