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Living abroad, we are from time to time kept in the loop about a friend or family member’s terminal illness via WhatsApp messages. One of the precious messages I received was a picture of the beautiful red toenails of a dear friend in her hospital bed. The nails were done especially for her last Christmas with her family.

This triggered the memory of a story about the Danish and French nuns. When the two groups met, the Danish nuns were shocked by the French nuns’ red fingernails. “How very inappropriate!” they whispered among themselves whilst puffing at their cigars.

Of course, this was simply a story, but is so typical of the parallax effect when I look at a fellow Christian. I don’t even notice my own faults, shortcomings and even blatant sin, only noticing the others’ – perceiving it to be much bigger than it really is.  Small wonder that Jesus needed to tell his followers the parable of the speck and the log. I am so easily critical of the “speck of sawdust” in the eye of my husband/colleague/fellow Christian, completely ignoring the “log in the eye” of my own gossiping or short temper. I could much rather learn to see the other person through the eyes of Jesus.

Regarding my brave, dying friend: she had taught me to look at my nearest and dearest with the eyes of Jesus – and, shortly before Christmas, walked straight into heaven with those beautiful red toenails!

Oh, that my legacy might be as meaningful as that!

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