Parable of the Speck and the Plank: If you are new to this series, we are analyzing 39 parables from the teachings of Jesus. Through this series, we will take each one and break it down to make it easier to understand its meaning. Just a note, Jesus was divine and had infinite knowledge. We do not presume that this is the only interpretation of this parable, but it is ours, and we hope it helps.
Parable of the Speck and the Plank –
Matthew 7: 3-5 NIV
What is a speck and a plank
Being trained as a carpenter, it only makes sense for Jesus to use these two terms in His parable. The speck is referring to a speck of sawdust and the plank is referring to the entire piece of wood that you might use to start a project.
In this parable, Jesus shows us that if you can’t avoid doing something you feel is wrong, you should not tell someone else that they should not be doing it. This is a classic example of something a hypocrite might do. To be a hypocrite requires you to pass judgement on someone else.
Look carefully in the mirror and make a self-examination before examining someone else. Don’t be ignorant of your own fault. There is another non-biblical quote that also helps with this understanding. If you live in a glass house, you should not throw rocks at others.
If you believe you have found a flaw in someone, you should not judge them. You will get what you give and in the same measure from the one that is the only one qualified to judge. Jesus gives us this example many times in the Gospels. One of the most prominent is the case in the book of John 8: 3-11. He challenges the ones that want to stone a woman for prostitution. He tells them “Let any one of you that is without sin cast the first stone at her.” In the end, they all leave and she is forgiven, and told to leave her life of sin.
In the time of Jesus, being judged by the Laws of Moses was the primary way of dispensing justice to the people. The laws were very specific and often times, very strict. There were also many that would result in death.
Jesus wants you to help others through difficult times. You should do it without judgement knowing that we are all flawed. Be a counselor, not a judge.
We can apply this to today’s thinking. The parable shows that if you work to help someone and are blinded by your own faults, you will not be successful in providing help to those around you that might have the same flaw. Work on your inner being and fix your faults, then you can help others through theirs.
Helping someone with compassion and understanding is the humble way. Jesus explains this is the best choice for counseling someone in need. Remove your plank by fixing your flaws, then you can help others without judgement.