41 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? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
One of the most useful tools that I was taught in my study of biblical counseling was the concept of the creation of a “log list.” I don’t know who first came up with this exercise, but it’s quite helpful.
Jesus tells us to look at the sin in our own lives before we attempt to correct the sin in the lives of others. Relationally, this concept can be a great help. Imagine, for example, a married couple working through conflict. Often, when you get them into a conversation, each person will share with you the flaws and failures of their spouse. What if, before they made a list of their spouse’s foibles, they actually had to make a list of what they perceive as their own sin. Humility and understanding often results, and quickly.
Add one other twist to this exercise, and it gets useful. Have each person write down the list of what they see as their own shortcomings. Then, have them exchange lists and have their spouse highlight items that are of particular concern or add significant issues that are missing. Now you are getting somewhere.
Once you have the list of your own failures, your “log list,” you can begin to work on it. Categorize your sins. Prioritize the ones that are most prevalent or most damaging to your relationship with God and your spouse. Then work on repenting in your own particular categories. As you do so, many of your common problems will fade away as we pursue Christ and grow in faithful discipleship.