I can see clearly now (the rain is gone)

Today I had a meeting in downtown Lima.  I had to park in one of those metered spots that you back into.  When I checked the meter, it showed 26 minutes remaining.  I had 2 quarters in my hand, so I plopped the first one in and it gave me an additional 30 minutes.  It was my first time at this group, but I figured it would go an hour.  I had 56 minutes on the meter.  That’s close enough right?

Wouldn’t you know it, as the 56th minute drew closer, my mind began to wander.  Will I make it out in time?  When does the patrol officer in charge of checking the meters make their rounds?  I stayed pretty focused at the meeting, but there was definitely some worry that was creeping into my mind and fighting to occupy my attention.
Was it worth it?
Was it worth saving a quarter?
Was it worth it if I got a $10 or $20 ticket?
Was it worth allowing worry into my mind and heart? (Worry goes both places you know.  It affects us physically.)
I see a similar parallel in Jesus story from Matthew 7: 3-5
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 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.”
How often are we critical of someone else?  Why do we feel the need to point out a little problem, before we take the time to do what God wants us to do with our own issues?
I love that Jesus washes us completely clean, and that no mistake is too big for God to forgive once we repent and turn from that habit or pattern.  But He invites us to be a part of that process.  We need to look in the mirror and see the giant log that everyone else sees, and remove it.
Maybe it’s an addiction.  Perhaps it’s the way we treat others.  It could be anything that doesn’t show love to God and love to our neighbors.  Then take a look at what happens when we remove that “log” of sin.
“and then you will see clearly.” (Verse 5)
I skip over that part of the verse many times.  I want to get to the part where I am then justified to ‘help’ correct my friend.  But perhaps the ‘seeing clearly’ part is really the whole point?
I got out to my car about 8 minutes late and guess what?  No ticket.  The stress was gone immediately.  I could see clearly again and be ready to be genuine and open and attentive with each person I would come in contact with the rest of the day.
Are you seeing clearly?