Sunday, March 28, 2010

Touching Base! Part 80

Hank’s Plank, Spock’s Speck
(This article can also we found on our website at under the tab called “Blog”)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God’s Word needs to be discussed in community.

We live in a day and age when the Church is being shot at from all angles. In the book UnChristian, David Kinnaman outlines what outsiders think of the church. One of the criticisms is that the church is judgmental. Have you ever run into an outsider with a negative impression of the church?

Have you ever found yourself interacting with someone who is attacking or toxic towards the Church?

Do you know any outsiders that are now coming back to the Church, giving the Church a second chance?

On Sunday we talked about Luke 6:41, 42. We talked about how it is important to judge, but we must do it correctly. Read the text and go deeper on the points that I developed.

Judgment begins with me

We named the judge in this text “Hank who has the plank”. We named the one being judged “Spock who has the speck”. It would seem that Hank is engaged in the process of judging Spock without giving any consideration first to his own heart’s condition. Jesus’ words in v.41 are shifting the focus from Spock to Hank, from pointing the finger outward to pointing the finger inward at Hanks own heart. Don’t you find it amazing (dreadfully amazing) that Hank can bypass his plank to see Spock’s speck? As a group, discuss what it is about our hearts, our human condition that can cause us to bypass our issues while condemning someone else (notice this is Jesus’ question in v.42).

Some of my suggestions on Sunday were....
  • Pride fuels judgmental attitudes
  • Arrogance is perhaps the most socially acceptable form of sin in the church today
  • Maybe Hank is a pastor or church leader and doesn’t feel he can be that honest
  • Maybe the plank has been there for years and acknowledging it now will destroy his image
  • Lack of courage
  • Shame, embarrassment
Even though we may miss or ignore the obvious plank, the world (outsiders) see clearly (along with Jesus) what we may not see or choose not to see.

In UnChristian, “85% of young outsiders have had sufficient exposure to Christians and churches that they conclude present-day Christianity is hypocritical”. Notice that this is Hank’s real nickname. The “H” word!

It is carried out as a means of blessing not cursing.

As a group, note Hank’s first approach in judging Spock (v.41) and his second approach in v.42b.
In his first approach he came at Spock with a “knife”. Some call this being judgmental versus judging. Judgment is central to the bibles message but Scripture relentlessly warns believers against being judgmental.
“To be judgmental is to point out something that is wrong in someone else’s life, making the person feel put down, excluded, and marginalized. Some part of their potential to be Christ followers is snuffed out. Being judgmental is fuelled by self-righteousness, the misguided inner motivation to make our own life look better by comparing it to the lives of others.” (UnChristian, page 182)

Notice the second approach v42b. Consider these questions as you examine the text and think of the contrasts of the two approaches.

What is the big difference in Hank? He has been with Jesus before engaging with Spock in approach 2 versus 1. Maybe our biggest problem in judging is that we don’t spend enough time with Christ first before we go and say the hard stuff to people.

What is the difference in Hank’s credibility? It is plank to see that Hank is wrong (uncontrolled laughter at this point) in how he is initially going about confronting Spock.

What is the difference in tone? On Sunday I talked about the difference between a bull in a china shop and a butterfly in a china shop. Being a butterfly does not indicate weakness but being careful in what one says because by being aware of one’s own sin and brokenness, a person is more aware of the other’s (Spock’s) own brokenness and trouble.

What is the difference in outcome? Is there any? Is there a better chance Spock will be more receptive?

How we communicate is just as important at times as what we communicate. By Hank dealing with himself first, the “how” will be deeply altered. Agree?

How might the solution be different? Note in v.41 and v.42 Jesus makes this statement “remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In approach 1, Hank might stab and run. In approach 2, Hank might understand these words differently. This can be a process and a journey, and it can also build great depth in your relationship. To point out, but not help out, is not the complete picture. Specks are indicators that people need help. They have lost their way; they are falling, and bound. I believe that there is a relationship that justifies the dialogue to begin with, and a relationship that is crucial in helping one find freedom.

What might “removing the speck” look like in approach 2?

As you think of what Jesus said here in Luke 6, what other texts bring more information on how to judge correctly? As you think of Jesus’ words here in Luke 6, are you judging correctly? Do you have the courage to speak up? Note that Jesus calls Hank and Spock “brothers”. Based on what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13, how is judging those outside the church different? (Quick answer - In Paul’s context, judging is not just discerning right from wrong but carrying out punishment. That’s God’s job. Our job is to discern right from wrong, let them (outsiders) know of their accountability to God and governing authorities, and to demonstrate mercy.)
We would miss a major point if we did not point out the real protagonist in this story. It is not Hank if he confronts correctly or Spock if he responds humbly - it is Christ. How does Easter illustrate God judging correctly? How does Christ help us take the plank of sin out of our eye not only at salvation but as we walk in repentance?

Happy Easter! The Judge has judged us correctly!


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