Anger and Grace
Emily C. Heath

“How can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see 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 neighbor’s eye.”– Luke 6

Today I am sitting in my study and feeling angry. I’ll admit that. Yesterday I found out that a man my church helped financially in an emergency was lying about the whole thing. I’m angry that he sat across from me and told me tearful stories about a dead brother who never existed.

And I’m angry at myself too. I think I’m a good judge of whether someone is telling me the truth, and I ask a lot of specific questions before I open the discretionary fund checkbook. This time I just didn’t ask enough.

Jesus tells us that before we judge others we must take a hard look at ourselves. We have to take the log out of our own eye before we focus on the eyes of others. That’s hard to hear when you’re feeling angry at someone who stole from your church.

And yet, it is true. I don’t excuse what this man did. But I cannot allow my anger about his shortcomings to transform me into a person I don’t want to be. I want to believe the best about people. I want to be generous. I want to give freely, and not hold back out of fear.

I can’t control someone who lies to me. But I can control who I become. In the end, all I can do is “keep my side of the street clean,” as the saying goes. Grace will hopefully do the rest.

God, thank you helping us to take the log out of our own eye. And thank you for giving us a desire for grace, instead of vengeance. Amen.

Devotional Author Emily Heath

Emily C. Heath is Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire.