A concerned husband went to see the family doctor. “I think my wife is deaf,” he said. “She never hears me the first time I say something.”
“Go home tonight,” the doctor suggested. “Stand fifteen feet from her, and say something. If she doesn’t reply, move five feet closer and say it again. Keep doing this so we can get an idea of the severity of her deafness.”
The husband went home and did exactly as instructed. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” he said. No response, so he moved five feet closer and asked, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Finally, he moved right behind her and asked the question again.
“For the fourth time,” she said, “chicken!”
Guess who was actually the deaf one?
We can laugh over this story, but it tells an important truth: we always assume it’s the other person who has the problem.
Jesus addressed this issue in the last part of the Sermon on the Mount. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3, ESV). As the great nineteenth-century preacher Charles H. Spurgeon aptly put it, “None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.”
I have asked couples in marriage counseling to name their ‘logs’ before telling me their spouse’s ‘specks.’ It’s amazing how hard it is for them to think of their own issues. F. B. Meyer, once said, “When we see a brother or sister in sin, there are three things we do not know and [must] keep in mind before we pass judgment: First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. Second, we do not know the power of the forces that assailed him or her. Third, we do not know what we would have done in the same circumstances.” Good words to remember.
If you want to judge, judge yourself first. Logs before specks. You’ll be so busy getting rid of your own log that you won’t have time for others’ specks. Get this and you will build deep, meaningful, long-term relationships.
After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.