Picking at Sawdust

Picking at Sawdust

Clearing Away Our Own Sin Issues While Helping Others with Theirs

picking at sawdust

Bible passage: Matthew 7:1-5 ESV

Focus Verse:  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 ESV

“Take your can,” Boaz pointed out to me. I had just gotten out of the car but didn’t have the chance to reach in and pick it up from my drink holder.

“I had planned to take it,” I replied flatly. Who does he think he is? I didn’t see him cleaning out the car, with most of the trash left by him. I snagged it and headed into the house.

So, I confronted him about his correction, “Why did you pick at me about my can when I found a straw and lid on the floor of the passenger side? That was definitely yours. Besides, did you help me clean out the car?”

“No, but you were going to leave your drink,” he defended.

“Who usually leaves his drink in the car? I’ve brought yours–and mine–in numerous times!” I fumed. “I take care of mine, and you take care of yours.”


In our passage, Jesus had begun the Sermon on the Mount, speaking to a large group on the hillside. This often misused passage, “Do not judge,” has been frequently taken out of context. He reminds people to be careful about picking at others’ issues without taking care of their own. After all, we aren’t God. Rather we are all sinners saved by God’s grace.

Our focus verse reminds us that our motives determine the outcome. People with ill will point out people’s faults to put people down. It often puts the other person on the defensive instead of helping them consider the issue at hand; whereas, those with caring hearts do so out of concern for others’ welfare. Will it help them become better people.


Sometimes we become blinded to our own sin issues that we pick at and correct someone else’s sin issues. We are often quick to criticize others, but have you noticed that the person being picked at will often accurately point out our hypocrisy? There we stand sheepishly, realizing that they are right.

Sometimes my Boaz and I will say to each other, “Pick at your own sawdust,” when we get nitpicky with each other. One might have more sawdust than the other, and vice versa. In other words, we must take care of our own issues before pointing out each other’s faults. It’s love that tempers our correction, but also gives us humility, to help each other become better Christian spouses.


What sawdust are you pointing out in someone else? How can you constructively share a concern with someone for their betterment? Do you point out sawdust that’s actually in your own eye but not in the other person’s eye? When someone brings up your faults, do you consider what they’ve said to see if it’s true? Or do you deny it?


Lord, I’m a sinner saved by grace, for which I’m grateful. But I’m not perfect. Please, help me correct my own issues before correcting someone else. Let me have your heart,  and only bring up issues of great concern for their benefit and to bring glory to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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