What’s wrong with the World? 

The Rev Tim Smith, pastor at Hele Road Baptist Church in Torquay. Photo: Contributed

The Rev Tim Smith, pastor at Hele Road Baptist Church in Torquay. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Whilst listening to the radio recently, I was intrigued by the feedback Jeremy Vine received from his audience to one particular question he asked them. 
On his lunchtime show just before the turn of the year, Jeremy was reviewing some of the memorable events his programme had covered over the past twelve months and at one point he asked his listeners, “Do you forgive Dominic Cummings?” 
He was, of course, referring to the incident in late March last year, near the beginning of the first lockdown, when Mr Cummings, who at the time was chief advisor to the Prime Minister, decided to go against the lockdown rules he had had a hand in implementing, to travel over 250 miles north for family reasons.
The vast majority of those who voiced an opinion over Mr Cummings’ imprudence, responded negatively. 
Benevolence appeared to be in short supply and the overriding feeling was that he did not deserve to be forgiven for his failure to obey the rules.
If we’re honest, most of us don’t have to try too hard to find fault in the actions of others, do we? 
Often, it appears to come all too naturally to us. 
This is often brought home to me whenever I have the opportunity to stand on the terraces at Torquay United because, as well as questioning the integrity of the referee, most of us who call ourselves supporters are all too quick to criticise our own team for a misplaced pass, a wayward effort on goal, or even a perceived lack of effort. 
Everyone’s a critic!   
Whilst teaching his disciples, in a part of the New Testament that is known as “The Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus warns his followers against indulging an overly critical attitude in our inter-personal relationships. 
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your friend’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” he asks in Matthew 7:3. 
“How can you say to your friend, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your friend’s eye”. 
Can you visualize the humorous scene Jesus is describing here? 
And more importantly, do you get the point he’s making?  
Everyone of us makes mistakes, bad decisions, wrong choices.  But we all have this tendency to minimise our own failings and try to make ourselves look good, at the expense of others. 
Jesus says that to highlight another person’s wrong-doing whilst ignoring your own deficiencies is as ridiculous as someone ignoring the big plank of wood stuck in their own eye, and at the same time pointing out the miniscule speck of sawdust in someone else’s. 
Instead, Jesus suggests a better way, which will be beneficial to both you and your friend. 
Begin by dealing with your own shortcomings; then you’ll be better able to help someone else with theirs. 
Perhaps the attitude demonstrated by the early 20th century author G K Chesterton is one we should seek to emulate. 
In response to a question posed by The Times newspaper, “What is wrong with the world today?”, rather than point the critical finger in the direction of others, he penned this brief reply:
“Dear Sir,
I am. 
Yours, G K Chesterton”.