Mat 7:3-4 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
The Lord Jesus addressed these words (as verse 5 will show) to hypocrites who judged others in a condemning spirit all the while having huge sin in their own lives. They projected to others a speck of the very sin that they themselves were walking in.
I am not applying these verses to hypocrites as such, but I cite them to illustrate how vital it is that we look to ourselves before rushing off to instruct others. Let me explain.
With some frequency, survivors of abuse or of some other kind of evil will tell me, with great enthusiasm, that they have a great desire to help others who are victims of the same wickedness that they have been through. This happened to me recently when a lady came up to me (I didn’t know her and I am not sure why she picked me out) and began telling me how she had started a podcast with the mission of exposing child abuse hiding in churches. She said that her husband had molested her children (she had 3 and another on the way). And she went on and on (preaching, you could say) about this evil that is pervasive, how it is demonic….and she focused on the subject of spiritual warfare, tearing down fortresses, and so on. I literally could not get a word in.
Now, I don’t question her sincerity, but I do question her ability. I could tell that her understanding of this subject was flawed and that the advice she would be giving others would also necessarily be flawed. I finally was able to respond (I actually had to interrupt her in order to speak). I told her that her husband was not going to change (she objected to that idea) and that most probably she was going to end up going back to him. He would then, after convincing her that he had had a “spiritual awakening” and was now healed by the Lord…he would then molest the children again. She would not have that and objected to my counsel.
But here is my point. It takes time for us to grow wise. To get the log out of our own eye. And until we gain the Lord’s wisdom, we are not ready to launch out in some ministry of instructing others. Just think about how deceptive evil is. How your abuser had you duped for so long. How he (or she) convinced you of so many lies and how coming to see these things took a long time.
What I am saying I suppose is this: Until we are healed ourselves, we are not ready to help others. The physician who has not yet seen his own disease should not be opening up his own clinic.
When a person, like the lady who approached me, when such a person launches out and starts to instruct others – no matter how sincere their intent might be – when they do this while still having the log in their own eye, inevitably their “ministry to others” is really about themselves. You will see it in the online articles they write. You can hear it in their words. And while thinking that their goal is to help others, the fact is that they end up focusing largely upon themselves. This is not helpful to them or to anyone else.
It is true that the Lord most typically uses people who have been through the fire to help others who are still in that same fire. But, as he did with Moses, He first takes us into the wilderness until in His time and in His way, He is ready to use us.