• Stefan Youngblood

Get An "i" Exam

Albertson’s, one of the nation’s major grocery store chains is eliminating self-checkout lanes in an effort to encourage more human contact with its customers. In an age where, “self,” reigns, and everything begins with “I,” (we even use two “i’s” to spell Wii) perhaps other businesses and churches will learn from their philosophy.

Their announcement caught my eye, not just for the great idea of increasing personal contact, but the term, “self-checkout.” Paul says, “Examine your motives, and test your heart.” (I Cor. 11:28) Let’s just call it a, “self-checkout.” Last week I went to a retinal specialist for an eye exam. In a dark room, the doctor asked me to identify letters on the wall as they decreased in size. Afterwards, I told him that had he simply moved my chair closer, or had the words actually spell something, I could’ve aced his little test. He didn’t laugh. Instead, with a puzzled look, he took me into another room with some kinda high tech scope, designed to diagnose a potential problem. I looked into the bright red light, as he shined what I’m convinced was a ray from the actual sun, into my eye, and he simple said, “I see specks in your eyes.” “Could be worse,” I thought.

In all honesty, I have some logs there as well. Remember Jesus saying, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Just this week I found myself guilty of judging someone else, and then seeing the exact fault/flaw in my own life. Pride’s nothing to be proud of. It’s pretty sobering to realize, that although we look in the mirror to check out every little detail before we leave the house, the greatest examination perhaps, is the one of our own hearts. We have vanity mirrors, full length mirrors, pocket mirrors and so on. I even saw a 15x magnification mirror, with a light, in Wal-Mart. My friend, unless you want to ruin a good day, I don’t suggest looking in this one. I took a look, gasped, and left wondering why anyone would need to see a pimple 15 times bigger than it really is. (Note to self. Increase personal space to 4.3 feet)

James writes, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law (mirror) that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.” Wanna be blessed? Maybe it’s time for a spiritual, “self-check-out.” Imagine the energy saved, and freedom that comes in refusing to judge others, and instead, dealing with our own specks, logs and sin. We may find that we can’t even see our neighbor’s faults anymore. No condemnation. Simply extending the grace and unconditional love we’ve received ourselves…through Christ.

Need an “I,” exam today? I know I do.  Oh, and there’s never a wait at this self-checkout line.

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