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The Eye

The eye. Is there anything more sensitive or important to my quality of life? My source of color, seeing God’s nature, reading, admiring my wife and children, my sense of direction. The key to extracting knowledge from the black and white pages. How often I take it for granted, never having to go without. Yet if I were to close my eyes and try to perform any menial task for a length of time, and I would be paralyzed.

But it’s not just a matter of convenience or clarity of sight. It’s about pain and sensitivity to irritation. What is more sensitive than the eye? It’s so easily irritated by the smallest speck.

It is the center of our focus, both outwardly (what I “see”) and socially (the “window to the soul”). It is perhaps the most beautiful feature of our bodies, and especially of our faces. And such dazzling arrangements of colors and patterns God gives each of us—truly as unique as the fingerprint! It is quite literally “my identity.” I can count no less than five unique shades of blues and greens and ambers in my wife’s eyes.

And the protection it has naturally—five different shields to protect it—the eyebrow, the eyelashes, the eyelid, the iris adjusting to the light and the tears continually washing away the most inconspicuous dust, even without my consciously knowing it. And the tears not only serve to protect, but communicate what is really going on inside. They reflect my deepest secrets, much as I would hope they would not. They are the great “truth tellers” of my true emotional state. They are the flashing hazard warnings when I am wounded, or the public confessor when moved by something.

In Luke 6, Jesus uses the eye as an example in a very important teaching: “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 eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

It’s a matter of perspective. How big do I see my own sin compared to the sin in others? I would imagine a chunk of wood in my eye would render me rather single-minded about how to solve my dilemma. Ouch. Nothing else would really matter until this object is removed, the pain relieved and some healing begun. Of what concern is somebody else’s “speck”—from my perspective—when my eye is red, swollen shut and bleeding? It really is comical—the image of a bleeding, wounded man with a nasty timber protruding out of his eye socket politely commenting on somebody rubbing their eye because of a little dust in the air. It’s like something from Monte Python—“Pardon me, but let me take a look at that!” Nothing else matters or is as important until it is dealt with. The world stops, as far as I’m concerned, until my personal crisis is resolved—the foreign object removed.

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It’s also a matter of priority. Jesus didn’t say we are not to be concerned with the sin of others. It just is of no or such little consequence to me until my own similar problem is dealt with. But after the surgery and healing, when I can “see clearly,” I can be of assistance to somebody who had the same problem as me. This would be the “ministry of reconciliation” Paul talks about.

What an incredible instrument and symbol God gave me in the eye. Lord, is there anything hanging off my face that I need to know about? How clear are my eyes? How white are my corneas? I don’t really give it much thought, so I would imagine a log, or even a splinter in the eye would be of great persistent irritation. Lord, don’t let my eyes get callused over so I don’t immediately deal with whatever’s floating around in my eye. I want to be so sensitive to the smallest matter that shouldn’t be there—any specks, let alone logs—that I turn to You to remove it immediately.

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