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The abbot arrived, carrying an old basket filled with sand. One monk said, “Your basket is leaking sand. Do you know that?”
“Are you sure?” He looked at his feet. “I see nothing.”
“No, no! Look behind you.” And the brother pointed to the telltale spillage.
“My sins are running behind me,” the leader said, “so I don’t see them.” He turned and left the assembly.
The story ends that the enacted metaphor caused the monks to forgive the offender and asked him to stay with them.
Like Abbot Moses demonstrated, I don’t see my failures and weaknesses. They’re behind me--in the past. I tend to forget them or dismiss them as “not that big an issue.”
Such behavior makes it easy for me to point out others’ guilt, failures, or weaknesses. It also reminds me that I’m as flawed as anyone else and often condemn in them what I need to see in myself.
When I face the trickling sand behind me, I’m forced to admit what I don’t want to see. As I pondered that illustration, it nudges me to cry out like the tax collector of Jesus’ day, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
(The writer Cec Murphey is a speaker, teacher, survivor and author. He has written or co-written more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world)