Quibbling Over Semicolons and Sawdust

When my high school English teacher taught the class the proper use of semicolons, I never quite understood the concept, even though I asked her to explain it to me further after class.

All these years later, I still question whether I use them correctly.

I have numerous grammar books to help with my semicolon dilemma. Noah Lukeman’s book, A Dash of Style has this to say.

It is hard to underuse the semicolon, since a work can exist perfectly well without one. That said, there are cases when it is called for…

Oy, vey.

So why am I discussing semicolons today?

Well, it’s all our son, Pie’s, fault.

One of Pie’s college degrees is Journalism. He wrote for several newspapers both in Florida and Texas before putting his skills to use in the space industry where he often works with non-native English speaking international partners.

During one particular meeting, one of the international partners corrected Pie on his semicolon use.

To which Pie replied, “I don’t use semicolons.”

Dilemma solved.

Quibbling over semicolons this way led me to think of a time Jesus said do not judge, or you too will be judged.

 

He told the multitudes not to look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye without first paying attention to the plank in their own.

Jesus warned we must remove the plank from our eyes before we can help anyone else.

I know at times I misuse semicolons, even though I try not to.

I also know at times I unjustly criticize and find fault, even though Jesus told us not to.

How can we help someone remove the speck of sawdust from their eyes when we can’t see past the huge beams in our own?

Do you have problems with quibbling over semicolons, or with quibbling over sawdust?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘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 brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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[bctt tweet=”Quibbling over semicolons led me to think of a time Jesus said do not judge, or you too will be judged. He told the multitudes they shouldn’t look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye, and not pay a bit of attention to the plank in their own. ” username=”SandyKQuandt”]

 

Plank-eyed

The other morning, as I drove to my weekly Bible Study, two vehicles flew past me in a 40 MPH speed zone.

“I hope you both get tickets!” I said out loud. I figured saying it aloud, might make it happen. I looked at my speedometer. Yep. Right on 40. I wasn’t breaking the law. Good, Sandy.

To my knowledge, those two law-breakers got away without having to pay a penalty.

Imagine.

Hurumph.

Of course, at that moment, I chose not to remember all the times I have exceeded the speed limit, broken the law, and deserved to pay the penalty. Selective memory, I think it’s called.

Whenever I caution my son,  Pie, about his speed, he tells me he drives fast because that is what he learned being a passenger in my car. (We don’t call my 1985 Monte Carlo SS, Zoomer, for nothing, you know.)

So, I’m sitting in my car feeling self-righteous that I wasn’t breaking the law by speeding, and I feel God tap me on the shoulder.

Here is what I believe God wanted me to consider.

In my corner of Texas, the fines for speeding increase the greater your deviation above the set speed limit.

In God’s eyes, all have sinned and fallen short. ALL. We’re all separated from God because of our sin. There are no “big” sins, “little” sins where God’s righteousness is concerned. To God, a gossiper is just as guilty as a murderer. A little white lie is as grievous to him as child molestation. There is no sliding payment scale of punishment deserved. We’re all guilty and deserve to pay the penalty.

A sin, is a sin, is a sin.

But God…

God made a way for our sins to be forgiven through the death of his son, Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary. Jesus’ sacrifice paid the penalty that we deserve. Jesus was given the “ticket” for our speeding. Jesus paid full price for our law-breaking, so we wouldn’t have to. It was a debt we owed, but couldn’t pay. A debt Jesus did not owe, yet willingly paid.

I need to be reminded, even though I may be driving within the proverbial speed limit right now, it isn’t always so. I also need to remember in God’s eyes, going over the limit by one measly mile, is breaking the law, just the same as someone who drives 30 MPH over the limit. Most importantly, I must never forget, I am a law-breaker who escaped having to pay the penalty, because Jesus paid it for me.

Grace.

In their song, Jesus, Friend of Sinners, Casting Crowns calls people like me, who want to give other drivers tickets for speeding, Plank-eyed Saints.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘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 brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5

 

I wish you well.

Sandy