What are your relationship-breakers? The things you do or don’t do that throw a wrench into friendships, work relationships, maybe even your marriage?
We like to think that relationship stress is caused by everyone else—our kids, our spouse, our boss…that we’re victims on the receiving end of someone else’s bad behavior. And when we’re pretty sure that’s the case, it’s our responsibility to help that other person improve herself, right?
You can see where this is going, can’t you? Anybody brave enough to delve into a little self-analysis today? I’ll start:
If left to my own self-assessment, I’d place my judgmental spirit at the top of my list of relationship-breakers. Well, maybe in a tie for first place with my drive to control everyone and everything around me. And impatience. Pride. Arrogance. I guess my list could go on and on. In any event, it’s always my preference to point out other peoples’ flaws rather than considering my own. Which makes it clear that Jesus is speaking directly to me when He asks this question:
Matthew 7:3: “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”
Can you hear Him ask me kindly that first time? But He already knows that I’m chock full of excuses about how I’m just trying to help, so He takes His admonition a bit further. I can hear Him raise His voice as He moves in a little closer to call me out:
Matthew 7:4: “How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?”
And now here it comes:
Matthew 7:5: “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
Ouch. No wonder people are turned off by “Christ followers” like me who are so quick to point out others’ shortcomings while our own are glaringly obvious.
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My church issued a challenge on Sunday that went along with Jesus’ warning to us all. It was this:
Ask four or five friends the following questions, and don’t accept “Nothing” or “You’re fine just as you are” as the answer:
1) What are my blindspots? What do you see that I cannot?
2) How can I improve? How can I get better?
Would anyone be brave enough to tell me the truth? And would I then be brave enough to listen—and to intentionally act on what I hear?
Father, You’ve convicted me of arrogance and pride, and of my tendency to critique and judge others. I thank You for opening my eyes and for continuing to tweak me in those areas, slowly but surely increasing my patience and humility. I know there’s still plenty of room for improvement, so thank You also for brave friends to help me see the things that are still hidden from my view. Let me be receptive and responsive to what I learn about myself. Amen.
Anybody brave enough to answer the question on my behalf? Or your own? Please feel free to comment below, or send me a private message via the Contact page.