Every morning after the dog takes me for a walk and I plow my way through a workout, I drag myself up the stairs, glass of water in hand, grab my bible and journal and sit at a table on the terrace outside our bedroom. And every morning a little after 6:30 a little old man across the way comes out onto his balcony and throws bread onto the roof of the building beside his for the pigeons and sea gulls. The birds have been trained and are waiting to pounce on the bread. The poor pigeons either swoop in there first or don’t get anything because when those gulls come swarming in all bread is off limits.
Today the man only threw out one piece of bread. I could smell a fight brewing. And brew it did. The pigeons were out of the fight quicker than a feather weight cage fighter up against a heavy weight. It was brutal…wings spread everywhere, loud squawking…terrible, just terrible.
The seagulls were going at it. One had it, then another. Finally I think it’s off when “the boss” of all seagulls comes in and takes the bread. The others seem to back off. But wait…what’s this? A lone gull comes flying through the morning light, swoops majestically down and takes the bread right out the “the boss’ ” beak. He, wisely, flew away from the other birds (the pigeons have been standing around gawking at the fight waiting for the crumbs to fall. Typical) and, I imagine, ate his bread in peace. The other breads were left staring after him. Literally. “The Boss” even had his wings spread out as if to say, “Wait…wh – – wh- – what was that and where’s the…WHAT??” The just stared and stared and stared.
I realized we are a lot like those birds left gawking after the one who got away with the bread. We fight. We steal. We step on others. We are selfish. We are full of self-righteousness. We do so many things that are hurtful and mean and spiteful. We do them because we are sinners. We don’t always see it though, much like those birds didn’t see themselves as selfish stealers and hoarders of bread. However, when someone else comes along and fights us, steals from us, steps on us, doesn’t think of us, is self-righteous, hurts us, is mean to us, or behaves spitefully we see it clear as day and most of the time we point it out. We may not point it out to the person though. Nope. Instead we choose to tell others about it. We might even take a poke at them on social media.
We gawk at people who hurt us in some way. We gawk at people who make mistakes, telling ourselves and others, “I can’t believe he/she would do something like that. I would never.”
Ashamedly, this happens as often in the Church as outside it. It happens in my heart. Does it happen in yours? I am human and I fail. However, how would it change me if instead of looking at the flaws and mistakes in others I only looked at my own, asking the Holy Spirit to point them out, lead me to repentance, and allow Him to change those things in me through the process of sanctification? What if I spent more time talking with Jesus than talking about others to others? What if my relationship with God was so intimate and real that instead of pointing out others’ flaws I loved them as He does helping them to draw nearer to the One who can refine them in the refiner’s fire?
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:42