I love that Jesus taught using examples and words that the people he taught were familiar with. For example, I was reading how “a touch of exaggeration [is] familiar in Oriental proverbs.” (source) So when Jesus used an absurd image of a camel going through the eye of a needle, it sounded as familiar to the people He taught as it does when our modern prophets speak about facebook.
Another absurd image is a beam in someone’s eye.
Apparently, the Hebrew word literally means a cross beam that can support the weight of a house, so this lego representation isn’t far off. (love that someone used legos for this parable. source We play a lot of legos at our house. I think I love legos as much as my boys..maybe more. Anyway.)
I imagine the following situation might be familiar to you: It is freezing cold outside. You are in the kitchen and are just on the edge of being warm enough. Someone goes outside to take the garbage out. They leave the door open. You might go close the door. You might go slam the door. (Slamming proves your point!) You might berate them when they come back in. You might give a lecture about the problems with heating the great outdoors (if you are the one who pays the bill!)
Let’s flip the situation. It is freezing cold outside. You are in the kitchen and are just on the edge of being warm enough. You decide to be super nice and take the garbage out. But you will only be outside for a moment, so you leave the door open. You even run to get back inside quickly. Closing the door seems an extra step and closes you out in the cold…so you leave it open.
During a particularly cold week, I caught myself being BOTH of these people! I lectured to the children about a door left open and not more than an hour later, I had left the door open during a quick trip outside…
Funny how my perspective on leaving the door open changes depending on which side of the door I’m on.
When the moment of offense happens (they left the door open AGAIN!!) we would be wise to step our minds into the other side of the equation (sometimes I leave the door open too…) Instead of pointing out the other’s mistake, we can graciously remember our mistakes. Rather than become angry at a car that cut us off, we can think about the time we accidentally cut someone off.
The scriptures, the prophets, and our own consciences prick at us with little messages… you should forgive her….you could have said that nicer…you know he didn’t mean it to be malicious….he is just trying to help….she is just doing the best she can….. These messages give you a choice. Point out their mote or pay attention to your beam.
Satan wins as soon as we start deciding whose fault it is. He is the father of contention and fault finding always divides us. However, when any faults, any sad situations, any hurt feelings, any painful moments, any unfair slights or any plain, old, mean hateful comments- when any of that turns us to the King of Sorrows– then even the hardest situations can become a victory for good over evil.
Thanks for studying with me today!
S: (Prayer/Ask) Why does Jesus ask us to consider our own place in His eyes before wondering about our neighbor’s place in His eyes?
- I love this conversation Moroni has with the Lord. Look for what He teaches will bring men unto Him.
23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;
24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.
25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
29 And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted, and said: O Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith; (Ether 12:23-29)
- Remember this great little lesson from October General Conference?
A Parable of Dandelions
Once there was a man who enjoyed taking evening walks around his neighborhood. He particularly looked forward to walking past his neighbor’s house. This neighbor kept his lawn perfectly manicured, flowers always in bloom, the trees healthy and shady. It was obvious that the neighbor made every effort to have a beautiful lawn.
But one day as the man was walking past his neighbor’s house, he noticed in the middle of this beautiful lawn a single, enormous, yellow dandelion weed.
It looked so out of place that it surprised him. Why didn’t his neighbor pull it out? Couldn’t he see it? Didn’t he know that the dandelion could cast seeds that could give root to dozens of additional weeds?
This solitary dandelion bothered him beyond description, and he wanted to do something about it. Should he just pluck it out? Or spray it with weed killer? Perhaps if he went under cover of night, he could remove it secretly.
These thoughts totally occupied his mind as he walked toward his own home. He entered his house without even glancing at his own front yard—which was blanketed with hundreds of yellow dandelions. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, ‘Lord, Is It I?‘)
- Why is it hard to accept someone else’s humanity in the moment of offense?
- We don’t want to take offense…but sometimes everything happens so fast and before we know it, the relationship is damaged. What can be done to prepare for the hard moments? Think how ‘act’ rather than ‘being acted upon’ might apply. (2 Nephi 2:26)
- Think back to a situation where you became angry at a person for something they did or did not do. Walk your mind through possible reasons why they acted as they did. Do you feel your heart soften as you consider their perspective? (For example, say someone at the store made a comment about your parenting… perhaps they always wished for children but never had any children, perhaps their parents abandoned them, or maybe they come from a different culture and that is how to strike up conversations with strangers (sometimes you have to stretch a bit, haha)
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: Why does Jesus ask us to consider our own place in His eyes before wondering about our neighbor’s place in His eyes?)
- Pretend someone asked you how they could stop being so judgmental. Write them a 3 or 4 or 5 step process to accomplish their goal.
- Copy down Jesus’s words:
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Explain away the offensive actions of someone today. Not because they are not offensive, but because you choose Jesus instead of divisive judgement.
click here for more information on s’more scripture study method