Discover more from Summons
“We reprehend small things in others, and pass over greater matters in ourselves. We quickly enough feel and weigh what we suffer at the hands of others; but we mind not what others suffer from us. He that well and rightly considers his own works, will find little cause to judge hardly of another.” (an excerpt from the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis)
This excerpt is reminiscent of Jesus’ words: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) And, it’s worth noting how Jesus begins that passage: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.”
So often, we see problems ‘out there.’ We see faults, quirks, annoying tendencies, and odd personality traits — but, only in others. We get frustrated dealing with people, forgetting that we may be frustrating to deal with ourselves. We become curt and rude when someone doesn’t understand what we’re saying, or when others miraculously don’t know exactly what we’re thinking.
It certainly makes for a miserable life when people are a burden instead of a blessing in our lives, but observing others’ faults cannot be our focus in life. Correcting this tendency starts with acknowledging that it’s happening. Try the practices of doing a nightly Examination of Conscience or journaling before you go to bed. These practices take your focus off of others and encourage you to focus on self-growth instead.
We must take time to step back from everyday life if we want to see wooden beams for what they are, and not only in others’ lives, but in our own too.