Faith Column: How’s your log — a lesson on self improvement
Brittany’s phone alarm started going off in class but she did not hear it. Instead a classmate picked up the phone and looked at it. Their face went into puzzled mode and they said: “Brittany your phone is saying something about your log?!”
The alarm was typed into Brittany’s phone earlier that day during a morning Bible study. It has led to some great conversations that have initiated accountability and encouragement for those involved. I thought I would pass it on to others in this column.
The source of our unusual alarm comes from a study we have been doing in Matthew, more specifically, the Sermon on the Mount (SOM) in chapters five through seven. There are many well-known life lessons from Jesus in the SOM, but the one that stood out that morning was Matthew 7:3-4: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (New American Standard Bible)
Our breakfast study conversation centered on how easy it is to be critical of others instead of working to improve individually. Of course on paper this idea makes sense, but we all agreed it is easier said than done. Some of the issues my adolescent friends said they needed to work on were bad language, procrastination and anger.
We all agreed it is not an easy thing to change bad habits and that we needed a daily reminder. So every day at 8:02 a.m. everybody has an alarm go off on their phone to think about their logs.
My alarm reminds me of three character traits I have been working on lately. This fall a fellow Young Life leader blogged about three qualities he appreciates in people. He wrote that in his life people he enjoyed spending time with people who typically had three common qualities: they were giving, grateful and they had a sense of urgency. I have tried to improve on all three qualities the last couple of months. So my “logs” I’m working to remove are selfishness, entitlement and complacency.
One thing to note is that there is some balance needed. It is important to not always be so critical of one’s self. It’s not an enjoyable experience to go around telling yourself that you never do anything right. In my experience, if I’m only critical of myself it tends to rub off on how I respond to others.
Jesus was so good at the right balance of critical thought and encouragement. So during this season of thankfulness we can follow his model of being thankful for how we are gifted but also how we can keep improving ourselves to improve the world. There is just one thing left to ask, “How’s your log?”
David Pressgrove is the area director for Bear River Young Life.