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2014 is the year of growing faith
2014 is the year of growing faith

Is that a speck in your eye?

Everyone wants to make a difference but that is easier said than done. “Recovering hypocrite” Rev Dr Schalk Pienaar explains that to change the world we should reform ourselves, not others.

Rev Dr Schalk Pienaar

Rev Dr Schalk Pienaar

“In which area of life have you failed the most?” This challenging question was asked in a fellowship group and everyone had an opportunity to provide an answer.

I have failed in many areas, but when it came to my turn to provide an answer, it didn’t take long for me to surface one of the areas of my deepest failure—namely the area of relationships.

In the early years of my ministry I tended to barge into parishioners’ lives and cause unnecessary hurt. I had ready answers and easy solutions for the problems of living that are part of every person’s life.

At the same time, however, I neglected my own family through compulsive overwork. I consoled myself that I was doing this for the sake of the kingdom; in reality it was for my own selfish ends. I discovered that the easy answers I was dispensing to others didn’t seem to work in my own life.

Character flaws such as mine are common and come in many different shapes, such as the need to control, explosive tempers, selfishness, racial prejudice, deep-seated untruthfulness and many more. Regardless of the shape they take, they damage us and those closest to us.

Jesus had some tough words for people like me: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5

Fortunately a wise minister took me aside and said, “Schalk, there is another way”. I was keen to learn this way, for it is really difficult to be a dedicated hypocrite.

He pointed me to the way of Jesus as the way to “remove the plank out of my own eye”.

The way of Jesus, I discovered, is the journey from self-interest to compassion and from self-righteousness to mercy. This reflects the heart of Jesus and is the way of true freedom.

So I signed up to the way of Jesus and became a recovering hypocrite. Recovering hypocrites understand the truth that God’s call is for us to reform ourselves and not others. For when we reform ourselves, we do so for the sake of others.

With our eyes on a hurting world, helped by fellow pilgrims, guided by biblical truth and prompted by the Spirit, we can become truly “other-centred” and add new life to a hurting world.

Schalk Pienaar is the minister at Kawana Waters Uniting Church.

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