"First take the log out of your own eye..." Matthew 7:5

See, Love, Follow: What Keeps You from Seeing Clearly?

Sunday Scripture

The 1971 Broadway musical Godspell was controversial among Christians in small town New England, but a brave choral conductor dared to have her high school ensemble sing selections from it at a concert I attended as an elementary school student. Remember cassette recorders? My parents recorded everything with ours, and I nearly wore out the tape that summer, captivated by the harmonies of these “big kids” who had learned to sing.

I don’t know a thing about the spiritual temperature of a man named Stephen Schwartz, the composer who wrote “Day by Day,” but one thing is certain: He nailed the sequence that describes a faithful following life:

Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.”

See, love, follow: this is the sequence for a life of faithfulness to God.

The heart will not follow what it does not love.
We cannot love what we cannot see and know.
Loving God and following God requires a clear view.

Jesus addressed humanity’s universal vision problem in his Sermon on the Mount:

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? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

If I have a log in my eye, there’s no one on earth who’s going to trust me even to apply their mascara, let alone remove a speck from their eye. Theologians have suggested that the “log” we all suffer from is self-righteousness, the sin that grossly distorts our vision and which earned scathing condemnation from Jesus in his dealings with the Pharisees.

"First take the log out of your own eye..." Matthew 7:5

Why is it that we feel qualified to offer help to others when we are least qualified to be helpful? A self-righteous person, based on her own self-assessment, finds specks galore in others, oblivious to Jesus’s warning about the danger of passing judgment: “With the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged!” (Matthew 7:2)

Sadly, self-righteousness keeps us from mourning over our sin, owning and confessing our poverty of spirit, and coming, meekly, to the Lord for cleansing and wholeness.

Failure to see God is a failure to see anything clearly.

Lord, may we see you so clearly that we can’t miss the log in our eye, and may we be so humbly aware of our own diabolical sin of self-righteousness that we respond with borrowed grace to the shortcomings of others.

Under the mercy,

Michele Morin

If you enjoyed my recent review of Becoming Elisabeth Elliot, you know that this week I’ve been posting snatches of Elisabeth’s wisdom paired with scenes of autumn beauty from here on my country hill. I’ll be making all those images available in one place in my October newsletter, so if you missed them on social media this is a great opportunity:

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Photo by Joel & Jasmin Førestbird on Unsplash

52 thoughts on “See, Love, Follow: What Keeps You from Seeing Clearly?”

  1. Oh, I have been guilty of self-righteousness so many times…and for years I wasn’t even aware of how judgmental I really was. Of course I don’t want a log in my eye, making it impossible for me to see myself rightly, to see God in all his magnificence, to recognize and understand truth as fully as I’m capable. Lord, I humbly confess my heart bends toward self-righteousness. With the ample strength you provide, may I “respond with borrowed grace to the shortcomings of others” as Michele prayed. Thank you, Father, for your grace toward me–day after day, year by year. You are SO compassionate with me! (And thank you, Michele, for an inspiring post.)

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  2. I hadn’t thought about the song “Day by Day” in ages, Michele, so I’m grateful to you for bringing it up here, reminding us of how powerful these simple words are as we aim to love God more and more each day. May you have a blessed Sunday!

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  3. I’m thankful that God tells us the truth about ourselves and that God uses people to do it quite often. Your words revealed a log in my eye in regards to a certain situation and God even spoke to my heart about how to deal with it. Thank you!

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    1. I love it when readers tell me about the work of the Holy Spirit when they’re sitting in this little space on the internet. I’m so grateful you’ve received some clarity, Elizabeth. I remember last week you shared that you’ve been through some challenging days recently. Trusting that you are walking in awareness of God’s great love for you and his good plans for your future.

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  4. This post fits in so well with what I have been thinking about this year – humility. I wrestle with it daily. The verse from Matthew is one I have repeated to myself often.

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  5. There are days that I should read this. There probably isn’t anyone not guilty of this scripture. Great scripture for judge not lest we judge ourselves first.

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  6. Well said, Michele. I loved the lyrics from Godspell in this post. Two of our granddaughters were in a production of Godspell almost 2 years ago. How great is grace is and so often we hear it mentioned without taking a deep breath of it into ourselves so we can grow more in it.

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      1. I was not familiar with it until our granddaughters were in it. It is not an ordinary presentation of the gospel, but a significant one. Sometimes we gain a great deal when it isn’t what we have heard so often in the way we are used to hearing it, not unlike Season 1 of The Chosen which I hope you have been able to see.💝

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  7. Oh, I hadn’t thought I of that song in ages! I loved it too & used to sing it at the top of my lungs as a teen lol! My granddaughter & grandson were in a school production of Godspell a few years ago.
    I sat watching with tears in my eyes…

    Yes, we always need to watch for that log, allowing God to show us that it may be beginning to grow!
    Bless you Michele,
    Jennifer

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  8. A wholesome read! It’s like sitting on a church pew again. I just love the feeling of Christian warmth in Christian blogs. Tweeted the quote on what the heart does and does not (thanks for making it easy). Thank you, Michele, for dropping by my nook, I appreciate it, and I’m happy I found your blog. Will take a look around.

    Hazel
    the spoiled fur kid mom

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  9. Why do we try to cling to our own righteousness when God tells us it’s like dirty rags? This was a good reminder and lesson for me today. Thanks for sharing the Word so clearly

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  10. good illustration for the life of faith. I also saw that you reviewed Becoming Elisabeth and I love that, it is a facinating book of a hero of the faith that has blessed me so much!!

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  11. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  12. I definitely do not want to put mascara on any one else’s eyes! What a good analogy that we can poke someone’s eyes, hurting them, when we take it upon ourselves to judge their actions in self-righteousness!

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  13. Sometimes it’s hard to see the God
    who hides behind the cancer;
    this feels, to me, really flawed,
    and I demand an answer
    for I don’t see a purpose here;
    has my heart gone blind
    and might I never see full clear
    the workings of His mind?
    And in that sweeping gust of pride
    my soul itself indicts,
    for God is my leader, guide,
    and it’s not among my rights
    to insist on full disclosure,
    puffed up in my own cynosure

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  14. Ahhh, Michele. What a beautiful post. Yes, we need to continually bring our hearts before the Lord so He can help remove those logs from our eyes. We need humility, don’t we? And now, “Day by Day,” will be floating through my head today. I can live with that. 😉

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  15. Oh Michele … We can’t control, nor are we responsible for, anyone else’s reactions or opinions. Which makes this song a beautiful anthem for these contentious times. (The theater department performed “Godspell” when I was in college … thanks for this little trip down memory lane.)

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  16. “Failure to see God is a failure to see anything clearly.” That sentence reminded me of 1 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The more we behold Him, the more we become like Him, and the better we can see ourselves and everything else. I love that phrasing of responding to others with “borrowed grace.”

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  17. Thank you for reminding me of some old songs today. Michele, this is just beautiful. This is the second time this week that these words have crossed my path >> “The heart will not follow what it does not love. We cannot love what we cannot see and know. Loving God and following God requires a clear view.” And since right now, I am into repeated words, I am going to be thinking on these words today. Thank you, friend!

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  18. Concentrating on your own life is a big part of staying away from seeing others’ logs in their eye. Being something of a hermit, I find it a little easier to do this.

    Your link at ‘My Corner of the World’ this week is greatly appreciated!!

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  19. Amen! Such a good reminder to search our own hearts before we judge others. It’s so easy to focus on the sin we see in others and completely ignore our own. God is so good in His mercy and grace towards all of us. May we never forget to share that mercy and grace with others as well.

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