Speck-hunting – “Another” Perspective
I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a personality trait of an introvert, or an “orange.” On social media, I took a personality test (Note: I answered honestly, even though I was tempted to choose the answers that would make me look better, well-adjusted, more socially acceptable and a nice person; in other words, put my “date face” on), and found I’m an orange – who knew; respectful of rules, organized and orderly, benevolent and kind.
I already know I’m an introvert, more inclined to contemplate the idiosyncrasies of my own navel than to notice yours, let alone find fault with your navel. When I notice something – anything, my first reaction is to hit the inward search bar and examine myself for fault. Yours is yours – I’ll let you be, but mine, I hone in on.
“Search me O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, mixed versions). Moments when I’m stymied about why things in life aren’t going my way, or the way I expect, I cry out with this Scripture. What’s wrong with me? And, the hymn, Search Me O God, is a favorite of mine – I’m liable to be humming it, with the words reverberating in my head, at any time, any day.
“Speck-hunting” – Defined
So, after a social media exclamation, that saying OMG is a sin; not just a shortcoming, fault, miss-deed, or less than creative use of the language, but a sin; I started thinking in overdrive – and hit the search bar. Yes, I say “OMG,” “O my,” “O my goodness,” and more.
Speck, found – congratulations, you found the speck in my eye. Mission, accomplished.
Guilty? I don’t know. Noticed the log in your own eye, yet?
Jesus’ words, in the Matthew 7:1-5 part of His Sermon on the Mount, “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others…. (AMP) Why do you see the speck that is in our brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – screams myopia, on our part.
In another essay, Eyes to See, I noted my own inability to quickly perceive eye color when I see into the eyes of another or even my own. I just don’t see precisely, or in sharp focus – eye color, I see something else.
I don’t think this seeming obtuseness is really a lack of observation or alertness, but a different kind of perception, akin to marching to the beat of a different drummer. For example, I’m not sure sin is always sin. Maybe in a black and white world, but not in the Kodachrome world we live in. I think maybe sin has more to do with intent and where the heart is than what we do, or say. (Note – I’m just as familiar as you are with the Scripture that says, “They will know you by your fruits.”- But, I believe fruit is born from your heart, not your behavior.) “What I said, is not what I meant.”
More specifically, “O my God,” might – depending on where your heart is, be a prayerful plea, albeit desperate. “O my God,” might be genuine praise for an everyday miracle such as a beautiful sunset, an animal’s extraordinary or anthropomorphic act; an expression of delight, gratitude, or surprise, etc.
Speck-hunters, on the other hand, have an eagle-eye towards sin and wrong-doing, the things they see on the outside of a human being, but God sees and thoroughly knows the heart, the motives, and intents behind the behaviors and visible acts of us all (I Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 16:2). That’s why all the judging needs to be left to God because He and only He has all the information needed for justice to be served; we see through a glass dimly.
Jesus pled with us not to be speck-hunters, but to first examine the log in our own eye. Romans 2:4 says that the goodness of God leads to repentance; not preaching, teaching, battering, belittling, threatening, or witnessing, but goodness.
When, years ago, I taught Marriage and Family courses to college students, I was particularly struck by the then, novel idea of studying healthy marriages as opposed to the usual focus on what was wrong with the family. The trend, prior to positive psychology’s genesis, was to study the dysfunctional, then back track; find the root of wrong-doing, fix it, then teach and counsel, “what not to do,” to achieve fluent families. We took Freud’s tack of studying prostitutes in order to define healthy sexuality. Speck-hunting.
I’m grateful for the well-meaning speck-hunter on social media who brought my attention to the use of OMG as a “curse word,” and therefore the sin of using our Lord’s name in vain, or frivolously. She called attention to my intent, and sharpened my focus when tempted to thoughtlessly use any words for God or substitute words for Him; flippantly. I’m more alert and repentant, when it’s called for. (Note, you know, it is a Jewish tradition not to write the word for G-d, out of respect and reverence for Him.)
Perhaps, however, our speck-hunting days ought to be numbered, in favor of a logging operation. The following is a comparison of the speck-hunt with the summer camp initiation of newbies, via the snipe-hunt.
I was once the recipient of a snipe-hunt* practical joke, or prank. I’m not a fan.
Frankly, I’m a rather serious person, by nature, and I’ve never witnessed a humorous prank. In fact, “joke” is a total misnomer, in my opinion, for a prank, because they are never truly funny; unless, by “funny,” one means “making fun of,” or intending to embarrass, isolate, perplex, confuse, humiliate, or make someone feel foolish – in front of a group; laughed at. Isn’t that called bullying?
*snipe-hunt = a practical joke originating in the1840s, wherein an unsuspecting newcomer to a group is duped into hunting for a non-existent animal (snipe) in the dark, outdoors, alone, making noise and holding a bag, until the “joke” is discovered.
Snipe-hunt > non-existent animal; in the dark; make noise; embarrassing discovery
ILLUSION SIGHT IMPAIRMENT OUTCOME
Speck-hunt > speck vs log; judgment; rebellion or revelation
There must be a kinder, more benevolent way to initiate a newcomer into a group. As there is a better way to alert people to sin and lead them to repentance; it’s the goodness, kindness, and patience of God (Romans 2:4). Speck-hunting is one way, but it isn’t the better way.