Are You a Speck Inspector? And Linkup!

SpeckInspectorHi, I’m Beth Steffaniak and I’m a recovering “Speck Inspector.”

Yessiree, I’m guilty as charged! And if you asked my hubby, he would definitely nod in agreement.

This concept is revealed to us in Matthew 7:1-5, where Jesus provides a very “eye-opening” truth about humanity’s habit of judging others. He says that we cannot be “Speck Inspectors” unless we take the “plank” out of our own eye.

Have you ever gone throughout a day with a dangling piece of spinach stuck between your teeth, or perhaps a gaping hole in the back of your pants? You couldn’t see those things for obvious reasons, but others—well, let’s just say, they might see a little more than they’d like to see!

I think that’s the way it is with our sin. Others can see it more clearly and … are often impacted by it more significantly.

Imagine how it might be if that “plank” was literally sticking out of your eye. How much damage would it cause to anyone standing near?! You’d turn your head to respond to your spouse and … kabam! You’d probably feel like you finally got your spouse’s attention! So you lean in a bit more to “nab that pesky particle” ... After all it’s the least you can do!

Only problem is, you’re totally oblivious to the boring your “plank” is now doing … “buzzzzowwie!

That’s how it is when we attempt to inspect the speck in our mate’s eye—more damage is done than good.

You might feel like your spouse has the plank and you have the speck. But that’s just what a “plank” will do to your vision. It will convince you that all the anger, damage and pain you just saw coming from your dazed spouse was due to their speck and most certainly not from you!

Jesus wants us to understand how very destructive pride can be in a relationship. Anytime we feel we are superior to our spouse {or others}, we are allowing a speck to grow out into a plank.

You might be saying, “Well, you just don’t know how abusive and immoral my spouse is! Certainly that would qualify them as a ‘plank-bearer.’” And I’d say, you’re probably right, but that doesn’t decrease the size of your plank!

That’s because the moment you feel that you aren’t as big of a sinner as your spouse, is the moment that you’ll be just north of Pinocchio territory!

From this biblical text I think there are three important truths we dare not ignore.

Being consumed with what’s wrong with your spouse  …

  • Won’t make the problem right.
  • Will involve you in the wrong (Mt. 7:2). And …
  • Will result in at least the same amount of judgment and negative consequences for you as it will for your spouse (Mt. 7:2).

So what would having a humble and Christ-like attitude toward your spouse’s sin look like?

 

Would it look more like a gloating Pharisee or more like a cross-bearing Savior?

 

In what ways are you trying to be a “Speck Inspector” to your mate?

 


 

Joining with my friends at  Works for Me Wednesday,  Wifey Wednesday,  Coffee and Conversation,  Wholehearted Wednesday,  Whimsical Wednesday,  What You Wish Wednesday, and Essential Fridays.

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  • Thank you so much Beth for such great reminders and hosting the link up! You have such great wisdom to share. I am currently on week 3 of your MPG and am enjoying it greatly. Praying to be responsive to my husband and child’s needs. Thank you for the ministry you do through this blog!

    • That’s so great to hear, Cassie! I am on week 8 with my two prayer groups. It’s been so much fun to expand this effort to other women who want to join together and lift up their marriages. You’ve encouraged me so with the fact that you are using it weekly! What a privilege! Thanks so much for telling me, my friend!

  • Thanks for a great thought provoking post, really made me think. Blessings

    • That’s great to hear, Terri. Thanks for letting me know and for linking up too!

  • In our world of everyone thinking that their way is best or that they are always right, we all walk around with the plank in our eye as we look through our tainted vision of what truth is. Being willing to accept all views and remove the plank in our eye is an act of humility that requires God’s strength. Praying that we all may step back in humility and admit when we are wrong and embrace others in the process. May we allow God to teach us humility in our interactions with those we meet. Hugs and love friend! I love coming here each week to hang out and learn from you!

    • Humility is needed for sure, Mary! That’s something God has been dealing with me on … well, for my whole life! But lately (this past year) He’s been pressing in deeper with His sharp and perfect conviction. There’s no haphazard “boring” for Jesus! He knows exactly where and how to reveal the sin that I want to cling to. Thanks for you kindness to me, Mary! It’s always a treat to have you linkup, comment and encourage! I do hope your heart is healing from the loss of your mom a while back. And I’m still praying for those two boys who lost their mom. How are they doing, if you know?

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  • Good post.

    Here’s a possibility – some Speck Inspectors are insecure, both in their own skin and in their marriage.

    I think one of the fundamental motives of the Speck Inspector is the desire to achieve emotional security through control. It’s a threefold thing – first, finding fault in a mate can be seen as a way to increase the shine of one’s own halo, by comparison.

    And how can the erring mate fail to notice?

    Second, many feel that using logic and, horribly, Scripture to emphasize and ‘prove’ the fault can blow part the “defensiveness” sage and force the sinning spouse to go straight to guilt, and the desire to make amends.

    In the spirit of Halloween, it’s a vampire-thing. Bite her on the neck and suck her blood. She’ll be so happy when you stop, and will love you all the more.

    Third, pointing out the speck and talking it up before the beam can be mentioned may mean that the beam will NEVER be mentioned, and one can look happily into a mirror that never reveals either beams or vampires.

    • You always bring some interesting thoughts to the conversation, Andrew. I think you’re right about the insecurity for sure! I think that anyone who struggles with pride (be it arrogance or judgmentalism) is insecure. But I think the same can be said of insecurity (in a shame-based or lacking confidence kind of way) … that it’s really a “pride thing” as well.

      You’re right too that sometimes “exhorting” our spouse through the pious use of scripture can truly increase the troublesome behavior.

      And as far as your Halloween metaphor, well, it’s interesting and quite true–since it can steal our spouse’s motivation to see the fault or turn it over to the Lord.

      I’m not totally sure I am understanding your thoughts on the last point, but if I am understanding you, I think that’s also true. It can be a diversion that keeps us from really looking at ourselves and dealing with our own sin.

      Thanks so much for weighing in, Andrew!

  • When I first read the title and your first paragraph, I thought you were talking about noticing DIRT, lol! And I thought, “Oh yes, my hubby would agree too, I like things neat and clean so I am the FIRST to notice dirt around here.” Then I continued reading, lol!

    I loved your quote about feeling superior to hubby and others, but also loved this quote too: “That’s because the moment you feel that you aren’t as big of a sinner as your spouse, is the moment that you’ll be just north of Pinocchio territory!”

    Boy, that’s for sure. When we start minimizing our own sin and maximizing our husband’s sin, we are heading for a dangerous curve on the road of matrimony, lol! Thanks for hosting today!

    • Ha! That makes sense to me–that your mind would go there, Nan! But alas, I don’t have the wisdom you have on that front. My house is in need of some serious MomstheWord wisdom–decluttering in every corner! ha!

      And I’m so glad you appreciated that quote. It’s one that I write but it’s also one that I’m preaching to myself! I know that the moment I feel I’m superior to my hubby–no matter his sin or mine–I’m straying from the humble stance that Jesus always lived and lives. Thanks for coming by, linking up and encouraging me, my friend!

  • Wow Beth! What a Fabulous reminder! It is just so easy to see that speck, and we are so blind to our own faults because of that huge plank in our eyes!!!! Thanks for hitting me upside the head with my plank! 😉

    • Aww, now I didn’t mean to “hit you upside of your head,” Elizabeth! Although the Bible does say, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” Right?! Ha! But every thing I’ve said here today I’m also hitting myself upside the head to finally remember this when the heat is on! Maybe you and I should dress up as mummies for Halloween so that we can bandage our head wounds and still fit in! 😉 Thanks for your encouragement, my friend!

  • Beth, I looked at this verse myself not too long ago 🙂 What hit me is whether a splinter or a plank, they are both made up of the same thing (wood). Either way, a splinter or a plank, spiritually they are made up of the same thing – sin. Great point that the plank impairs our own vision. Much to think about in the post for sure!

    • That’s a great observation, Joanne! And thanks for your kind words to me! I appreciate you adding something new and interesting to our discussion here today!

  • I am still working very hard on this one Beth, but the liberty I encountered when I decided I was not The Judge can neither be described nor quantified.
    When we judge our spouses or any one else we attempt to take God’s place and that is a sundial thing to do. Also, we put ourselves in the trial box… The we judge we will be judged.
    Thanks very much Beth, we need to deal with these little foxes that spoil our marriages.

    • So true, Ugochi! This is another way to “play God.” I’m glad you’ve pointed that out in our discussion today, my friend! Thanks for your support as well as the wisdom you share here and over there at your lovely blog! 🙂

  • I think we’ve all been guilty of this friend. But thanks for convicting me today. It’s a struggle my husband and I both deal with…not with each other…but with others in the church body, our families, etc. It’s so much easier to look and talk about their own issues than it is to focus on what God wants changed in our own hearts!

    • Oh yes, I have struggled in that same way, Nicki. It’s almost more of a temptation for me since I can talk to my husband about what I’m seeing or feeling and he will help me to understand his motives or actions so that it’s easier to let go. But when it comes to friends from church, we don’t often get that luxury of fully knowing nor are we given the opportunity to be so open about all that’s involved.

      But yes, it’s also a way for us to ignore the sins in our own hearts. That’s the real tragedy in all of this, we think we are being so “helpful” but we’re really hurting not just our friends but our own hearts and lives. Thanks so much for adding to the discussion, sweet friend! Hugs to you!

  • What a great post, Beth! Even though I’ve heard plenty of sermons and teachings on this, I love the visual of my bending down to help my husband get that pesky thing out of his eye when bam, I hit him with my plank! It’s a very funny visual. And years ago, I would have gotten angry at that plank hitting him–somehow, it would still have been his fault (because of my “issues”) but now, I see that happening, and we both just laugh. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, it is rather funny when we think about it, Mary. I think there’s often a lot of humor that we miss due to translation issues and cultural differences that Jesus injects into His wise counsel. I imagine that Jesus was not only very serious and pious, but knew how to laugh and see the craziness of our actions as humans. Thanks for encouraging me! Let’s both vow to at least chop that “plank” down a bit the next time we turn toward our hubs! ha! 😉

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  • You have such a wonderful way with words so that you bring out a point in a new way so that we will notice what we have heard all along. Thank you so much, and yes, I can be like this – at least with those I love the most.

    • Aww, thanks, Judith! That’s really sweet of you to say! I’m glad you found it helpful and are brave enough to join me in the ranks of “speck inspectors.” God’s got His work cut out with us–always shaving away our sin with the sword of His word. And one day we’ll be that beautiful Masterpiece … one day! Hugs to you!

  • Oh, ouch. First, let me say this is one of my favorite posts so far on Messy Marriage. (A tall order indeed!) Such wonderful imagery to hammer home the message. Becoming consumed with a spouse’s faults only shows how blind we are to our own – yikes, this hurts, but it’s a helpful truth. Thank you, Beth!

    • Wow, Becky! That’s a true honor coming especially from you–who I feel is one of the most funny and interesting writers out there. I was just bragging about you the other day to my hubby. I think he’d really like your blog too–even though it’s more geared for women, wives and mothers. Thanks for your encouragement here, sweet girlfriend. 🙂

  • Lisa

    The last part of your post nailed it for me. “So what would having a humble and Christ-like attitude toward your spouse’s sin look like? Would it look more like a gloating Pharisee or more like a cross-bearing Savior? ” Great questions to ask of myself. Thanks, Beth. (I’ve got a great guy and don’t get much practice at this though.)

    • I know! I was convicted by that very question too, Lisa! Funny how God uses the words He gives us to share with others to do giant-sized conviction on our own hearts! He always has been an amazing multi-tasker! 😉

      And I’m so glad to hear you have a great guy who doesn’t require much “speck inspecting!” But I suppose that could also be a testament to your love and mercy as a spouse as well! Hugs to you!

  • Hi friend. Guilty. Although I would like to think I have improved greatly in this area as I have allowed Christ into my heart. What a great post.

    Love love love your video posts. I confess, I’ve attempted these, but when I have folks calling my home and, when I answer and they say, “Is your Mom or Dad there?” It does NOT inspire confidence in this here woman, ha ha. It is something I am easing into. That’s your laugh for the day!

    Thanks for the link up.

    • Yes, and I feel the same way. God has chipped off a lot of my rough edges and probably chopped a good hunk off that plank of mine. But the moment I start to feel confident in how I’ve improved, is the moment Satan comes in and tempts me to “think I’m all that!” Then my hubby gets a pummeling! ha!

      Thank you so much for sharing your encouragement about my videos. It was really something I did out of necessity back in September. I’ve been thinking about doing them for quite a while but my shoulder/arm started acting up BIG TIME when I was tapping away at my computer daily. So out of necessity I did something that didn’t require as much typing. And in that push out of my comfort zone, the Lord did something new in and through me! He truly loves to do that, doesn’t He?! I will pray that you have the courage to move forward with videos. I think it picks up an entirely different segment of your audience. Plus, once you figure out the next hurdle of technology, it’s soooo much fun! I’m really enjoying it! And by the way, a “young-sounding” voice will probably draw in younger viewers–and that’s not such a bad thing, my friend! Use it to your advantage! Hugs to you, Kim!

  • Beth, thanks for the post.
    I sometimes find myself thinking negatively about my husband, and it takes a mental effort to turn it around and think about all the wonderful things he does for me.
    I guess it’s a lesson that if you want a relationship to work, you have to put effort into it. I know I’m not a perfectly lovable person all the time who is neat 100% of the time and never messes anything up. But I also know that I’m trying as is my husband and that we can make it work, especially since we both try.

  • oh Beth, where would I even begin!…lets just say that i am not where I used to be! When God began to make me aware of my very long very annoying (to my hubby) planks (s) , it changed everything. Not easy walking out the “recovery road”, but its certainly better than where we were.

    Your example of walking around with spinach or a hole in the back! Wow, hits home!

  • Speck Inspector? THAT’s a visual that is going to stay with me, Beth! Especially as I lean in and remember I could put his eye out with my plank while looking for his speck! Thank you, ma’am!

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