Things to Pray for Missionaries: for Planks to be Removed from Our Eyes

In my last post I argued that the vantage point of a different culture helps us to see the areas where we need to change. I had planned for this post to expound on that idea. To explain why it is that church folk in e.g. the UK should listen to missionary folk i.e. Me. To demonstrate how experiencing church in Japan would give me unique insights to help the church in the UK to change for the better.

Poster of Darth Vader staring off against Ken Watanabe

Darth Vader & Ken Watanabe: they don’t always see eye to eye

But then I read my Bible to find some good verses to really nail my point home with. And, as is often my experience, I ended up having one of those moments. Maybe you know what I’m talking about: you go to Jesus to back you up in an argument and instead He ends up sucker-punching you in the gut! 

Here’s how it happened this time,

Jesus: “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? 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? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

(That’s from Matthew 7:4-5)

Me: “Yes, that’s just what I need to make my point that folk should listen to me. They’re blind to their own cultural weaknesses, and they need a good missionary brother like me to point it out.”

Jesus: “Are you sure that’s who I was talking about?”

Me: “Well I don’t see who else you could… oh!”

Jesus: “Yup, sucks to be you.”

(That bit was from my imagination.)

You see, as I thought over some of the responses to my post on being a single Christian I felt that sharp pang of conviction that I have come to call friend. It is not pleasant to be called a hypocrite. Especially by Jesus. But it is even more unpleasant to be oblivious to the fact that you actually are a hypocrite. That you are the cause of problem.

It is of course easy to claim that other people are the main problem. Sure I play a part, but it is small – negligible even – compared to their problem. In fact my stuff probably wouldn’t even be a problem if they dealt with their issue!

But that is exactly Jesus’ point. I think that way, precisely because I have a big fat lump of wood in my eye! Of course I think that my problem is smaller. I can’t see the situation properly. It is only once I’ve dealt with my stuff that I’m able to see just how much of a problem it was.

It seems then that I need to adjust my initial statement, the vantage point of a different culture can help us to see the areas where others need to change if we have humility to recognise our own need to change first.

So would you pray for missionaries i.e. Me. Pray that as we engage with the cultures we’re going to, and as we re-engage with our home culture we would have humility to recognise our blind spots, our weaknesses, our problems. Pray for the planks to be removed from our eyes, so that we can see clearly and therefore be truly helpful, rather than simply hypocritical.


One thought on “Things to Pray for Missionaries: for Planks to be Removed from Our Eyes

  1. sandykins

    Funny. I was sharing with the Bureau tonight about “humility” (1 Cor) and
    how it was really important that we should stay humble and not look down on
    the other students here in order to serve them well instead of spending our
    time pointing out the mistakes in them, stuff they don’t do well (like the
    washing-up) etc. We realised our need for godly wisdom and guidance in all
    we do.

    Likewise I think cross-cultural experiences can be eye-opening and humbling
    in a good (though sometimes painful) way. i.e Coming back to France and not
    hearing myself sound arrogant and pedantic when telling my tales of
    exciting spiritual adventures abroad, then wondering why not everyone
    seemed interested or don’t ask any questions… *I have so much to teach


    I’ve been humbled by how little I actually know of Christians in this
    country (and how lovely, committed and faithful they are) and all the
    wonderful stuff God is doing in his Church. Yes, I probably have a lot of
    things to give and God can use me and my experiences to bless the Church
    here but I was challenged to try to love and listen first, *then* speak.

    I’ve still got little specks here and there but I’m hoping to learn to
    remove them more quickly each time they do show up!

    twitter @sando84
    skype: zaragozasandra



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