So I have recognized the plank in my own eye. I am working to remove my plank. Now I must help you remove the speck.
The book says "the alternative to judgement is not tolerance, it is mercy." That means that I am doing you no favors to look the other way while you walk around with a speck in your eye.
This makes me think of a funny story from high school...ah, sweet memory lane...
I was a cheerleader all throughout my school days. (Anyone shocked by this?!) On game days, we would wear our cheerleading uniforms, but since the skirts did not adhere to the dress code, we were also required to wear leggings underneath them. Seems pretty harmless, unless your middle name happens to be "Grace" like mine is. (I am stating this sarcastically, by the way...) After finishing up a bathroom break, I had apparently tucked the back of my skirt into the top of my leggings and was unknowingly parading around the entire school with my bum covered only by a piece of thin, white, stretchy fabric. I went around like that for about 3 hours, until I discovered it during another bathroom break.
I was mortified! I kept thinking, "Maybe nobody noticed..." Of course people noticed! But why didn't anyone tell me? As one of my dear, sweet friends later explained to me, they didn't tell me because they thought I would be too embarrassed.
Yep, you're right. That would have been super embarrassing. Much better to have me walk around the entire school with my bum hanging out for half a day, wasn't it? Smart move, buddy.
I laugh about it now, and even did shortly after it happened, just because it's funny to think about how ridiculous I must have looked. But as funny and innocent as that story is, it displays a very interesting truth about people (myself included.) It is much easier to pretend you don't see a person walking a destructive path than to confront them about it, and we are much more likely to tolerate ill behavior than to risk our own discomfort when trying to bring it to the attention of someone else.
God doesn't say, "Your sins are forgiven...now, Liz, as you were." He says, "You are forgiven. Go and sin no more."
Since I am created to follow Christ's example, I must too forgive others of their transgressions against me, and then help them to flee from sin or temptation.
I am not going to lie to you. I belong in the massive group of people who have gotten very good at "looking the other way," so it will take me some time to live up to showing mercy in this regard. However, I admit that it would be better for me to feel uneasy or awkward than to let someone I know and love get hurt while I stand idly by to watch it happen.
And since every road to transformation begins with a single step, Iet me begin with this promise to you: if I ever see any of you walking around with your skirt tucked in to the back of your pants...I will tell you! :)