As a little child I usually attended Sunday School while my parents went to church and their own adult classes. For our group of kids we were taught through colorful Bible stories in ways that were understandable for little ones. Hearing about the animals on ‘Noah’s Arc’ comes to mind.

As fun as those stories were, they were the simple beginnings of my understanding of the Bible. This period of my young church life I look back on as the ‘Jesus loves me’ time; for we sang that song over and over. I was only starting to know what that truly meant.

My first Bible lesson that struck deep with true meaning probably came to me one Sunday while I was sitting on a pew with my family in church. I was probably no older than 7 years of age.

Our pastor was giving a sermon on Mathew 7:3-5/Luke 6:41-42

Luke (NIV)

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

The visual image of a plank (or ‘beam’ as used in the King James version) was something my young mind and vivid imagination could see.

Every child by that age has gotten dust or dirt in their eyes and knows just how uncomfortable that is. So to imagine what it must be to have this massive plank of wood stuck in ones eye is a horrifying thought. Then to think trying to get a dust out of another’s eye with this thing stuck in my own is equally horrifying.

This imagery embedded itself into my mind.

It was my earliest lesson in not to judge others and it has stayed with me ever since.

It seems like an easy lesson to learn; don’t make such a deal out of pointing out the flaw in someone else’s life and act like you are the only one who can fix them, while completely ignoring the major problem within your own life. Yet we do it all the time.

Though I try not to judge others, I would be an equal hypocrite if I said I never judge other people. It’s far too easy to do so. But I try very hard not to. I have to stop and realize that I could end up going through the same thing they are and if others point out my faults with such an attitude, would only make my situation worse.

If you can help me, great, but don’t treat me as a flawed and only you can help me. I won’t do the same thing to you.

However, in an attempt to not judge people, sometimes I imagine my plank is much larger than it truly is, or imagine it is there even when it is not. It can be too easy make your own flaws greater than they actually are. So in your attempt to not judge others too harshly, don’t judge yourself too harshly either.