A little over a week ago, Senator Ted Cruz's twitter account 'liked' a porn video. There were many reactions to the 'like' and subsequent denial on the part of the Senator that he was the one active on the account at the time.
The part of the story I found most interesting were claims that the reason this should be a big deal were not because 'porn is bad' but because Senator Cruz has been an outspoken critic of everything from gay marriage, the right of consenting adults to use sex toys, and generally acting as if he should have control over the sex lives of adults.
So he was being called out not because 'a staffer accidentally liked' a porn video on twitter, but because for years he had a log in his eye about human sexuality and how and when the state should have control over adult sexual expression.
For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye?
One of the interpretations I used to put on this quote from Matthew was that when I have a log in my eye, I can't even pretend to see the speck in another person's eye. That is fine as far as it goes.
However, with Senator Cruz's story as an example I think that the log is more than just something that blinds me and makes it difficult to take action on another behalf. I don't see the log in my eye because, I only see it as a speck (or even the entire log) in the eye of the person I am looking at.
I project my log on to them.
When I do that, it is difficult to realize that it is my log that I am seeing. Every effort I make to pull it out fails because I am reaching beyond my own eye and waving my hands around uselessly (or worse, accidentally hitting bystanders).
Once I finally realize that all the splinters I am seeing are really my log it becomes easier (but not necessarily less painful) to pull it out and put it in it's place.
And like many mountains made of molehills, logs can turn into tiny splinters when they are removed and looked at in perspective.
All of this takes work and self-awareness and sometimes I need help figuring out that what I keep seeing is my own log. However, even with that help, I'm the only one who can remove the log and see more clearly from that point on.---------
All bible quotes are from either the NRSV or RSV text at Bible Gateway.
This essay was originally published in September 2017 at The Episcopal Cafe: Speaking to the Soul