I found this story on a friend’s facebook wall:
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the wife sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly,” she said, “perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her?” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” And so it is with life, what we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
A good place to begin our Gethsemane experience this year is an invitation to slow down, turn inward and start from within.
Self-examination is a virtue which every believer must daily engage, especially in our constantly changing world. This exercise has been tagged with different names; some called it self-analysis, others named it self-awareness or self-evaluation; it doesn’t matter what you call it, the goal is the same; the re-examination of one’s thoughts and actions in alliance with God’s purpose.
Paul said “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Hear the word of David “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23
In Matthew Chapter 2 verse 12, God exposed the evil plan of King Herod; his plan to search and destroy the Christ-Child. Herod was searching for the child instead of searching for his own soul. If Herod had followed the words of the scriptures in self-examination, he might have noticed and conquered the spirit of jealousy and bitterness in his heart. This power-driven spirit led him to the massacre of several innocent children in Bethlehem.
Our community and relationships will be better if the same energy, time and resources we use in accusing, backbiting, fault-finding and destroying others can be used in the search for our own heart. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
The search for our souls also includes a re-examination of our assumptions, doctrines, traditions, and principles. Like Herod, our distorted views might be oppressive or destructive to the Christ-child in others.
To commit error is not the sin but the denial, blaming and turning the responsibility to the devil. Those who practice self-examination find it necessary to admit their mistake and request for forgiveness. No matter their position or status, they are never too big to use the words:
I am sorry, or I was wrong.
All these cannot be possible except we become like Jesus who at Gethsemane prayed, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Amen!