When I read a passage like this, I regret with all my heart that I did not live during the time that Mashiach walked the earth and taught this. This is chutzpah.
But the challenge is relevant to all of us today. Imagine an emergency situation, where chaos is everywhere and help is desperately needed. Can you imagine someone who is in dire straits helping someone whose life is hanging by a thread? Performing surgery? Giving medical advice with a clear head? No way. But yet, we have people in similar social situations who do this all the time. People who are almost as incapable feel it's their divine calling to help others and give poor advice or criticism.
Mashiach Yeshua gives a clear exhortation to first fix ourselves. We need to find the obvious things that are blinding us, impairing us, and remove them. We have no jurisdiction in other people's lives if we first don't get our act together and perform some very serious triage on the things that are glaring in our own lives, whether they be social or soul-oriented. You can't see clearly when you have something in your eye, so how can you help someone else?
order as rescue
There is a profundity in what Yeshua is speaking to us about having clear vision. It has as much to do with order as it does with safety. Anyone who has had an eyelash or something else lodged in one's eye knows how difficult it is to function normally. It takes only a small particle to impair our vision. While in this state, any driving, walking, or activity goes right out the window. Not only are we unable to function with that eye, but we feel unable to compensate even with our other eye. Sometimes it can be quite dramatic and we are incapacitated until we remove the object. Imagine, while going through that temporary timeout if we had to help someone in a significant way. Simply put, it would be ineffective. We might be smashing into walls, other cars, or fumbling all the way.
Not only is taking the particle out of our eye good for others, it benefits us as well. Yeshua is speaking of the middah of order. First things first, already! In his day, there were no doubt people like we see in our own day — people who want to help others but need to remove the obstacles in their own lives first in order to be truly effective. By removing our own obstacles, we keep ourselves first from peril, so then we can prevent or help others who might be in peril.
thinking of self as a means to helping other
Out here in the Northwest, we have a daunting mountain range called the Cascades. It is glorious, breathtaking, and also dangerous. We have many who dare to climb the various mountain peaks and take in the sights and the heights. But every now and then, unfortunate souls are victims of circumstance. It is then that the rescue crews are brought in with the hope of saving those souls in need. However, from time to time, the weather is uncooperative and threatens the very life of the rescuer. What to do? The rescuer must wait. If the rescuer goes in with little regard for the danger at hand, then not only is the life of the rescuer in danger, but the very mission itself. Someone who is in the best possible state can only be a help; if there is any form of blindness, danger or impediment in the way, anyone trying to help will be hindered and most likely fail. This is tragedy not only for one person, but for all those involved.
This order of thinking of one's self first is not a form of selfishness. In fact, it is dealt out by Yeshua as being wisdom. By forcing ourselves to function in order, in the best possible spiritual/mental/physical health, we can help others around us in the proper way. And not only that, we can help others continously. By understanding our limitations and taking heed, we can be sure we have a life that is capable of helping others and that is grounded in health.
get in shape
As you contemplate order this week and wonder how you can better yourself, start by honestly looking at what could be the "logs" in your eye. What are the elements that keep you from seeing clearly, that impede your ability to be useful? Identify this week the clutter in your eye, your life, and your spirit. When you can find what keeps you from having clarity, agility and proper perspective, then you can truly help yourself first and then those around you. Look inside....what are you waiting for? Bring order and clarity to your life....others depend on it.
Gospel references taken from Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels (DHE)®, © Copyright Vine of David 2010. Used by permission.