The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

February 26, 2010

The Case of the Two-by-Four Perp

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 11:15 am

The Case of the Two-by-Four Perpetrator

While surfing the internet I came across an article about a man, the perpetrator, who upon seeing his girlfriend with another man and jumping to conclusions, allegedly took out a long two-by-four and began to assail her with the wooden weapon and then clobbering her male companion with a clothing iron. The article concluded with an almost sad note that no police officers were injured during the fracas and the iron along with the two-by-four were recovered. Although the male companion did require 10 stitches the woman was unharmed and needed no medical attention. All is well that ends well right? Of all the news that was out there I had no idea why this silly report captured my attention. Only later did I realize why I was tantalized by this report. There was something vaguely familiar about a two-by-four. You wouldn’t believe it but there is a two-by-four perpetrator in your own neighborhood, in your home, in your work place, in your relationships, and in your church. I’m sure you are looking around worriedly and asking, “Well, where is he?” Jesus answers your question as He speaks about the Case of the Two-by-Four Perpetrator.

Let me explain.

In Matthew 7:3-5 as Jesus was ending His Sermon on the Mount there was something important He needed to say about judging and especially about our zeal to rush in to criticize or correct others. So, He warns us of a perpetrator with a two-by-four. No, I’m not referring to that lame dude in the news article but I am talking about, well, Jesus is talking about YOU AND ME! Jesus said, “And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother’s eye.”

The word translated beam implies a piece of lumber like a log or a two-by-four. This is then contrasted with a speck or a small splinter similar to what we sometimes find caught underneath the skin of a finger or hand. Think of the absurdity of walking around with a two-by-four protruding out of your eye while you attempt to help others. I can visualize one of the Three Stooges bumbling and stumbling clobbering people with this two-by-four in a vain effort to help those around them. It’s a comic thought but the thing is Jesus says improbable or not WE are two-by-four perpetrators! His absurdity drives home a point.

John C. Maxwell in his outstanding workbook “Winning with People” would call the point Jesus is making as the “Mirror Principle”. He states the principle this way, “The first person we must examine is ourselves.” Maxwell noted that, “The question I must ask myself: Have I examined myself and taken responsibility for who I am?” pg10. He continues by adding this, “People unaware of who they are and what they do often damage their relationships with others. The way to change that is to look in the mirror. It’s the same thing all of us must do.” pg.13. I believe John C. Maxwell understands well the fundamental message that Jesus teaches here.

Judgment first begins within. Look carefully into the mirror every day and answer this question, “Have I examined myself and taken responsibility for who I am?” Be honest. Jesus is helping us remove any obstacles (those two-by-fours) that will hinder our ability to judge fairly, clearly, and be in a position to truly help others.

By the way, when the Perp with the two-by-four is seen in your mirror, please call THA.NKU.LORD!


Bruce Kessler


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