I find it so much easier to spot the spec in everybody else’s eyes than I do to see the plank in my own eye! When people do things that hurt us, the normal human response is to react, defend and even accuse. When people’s words or actions hurt us, we easily assume that they are in the wrong. But all too often it’s us.
Recently I went on vacation. You need to understand that my job on family holidays is planning. I read the travel books and put together a programme of activities that everybody will enjoy. Without realising, on this trip I became preoccupied with ensuring that everyone was having fun.
However, any time my husband seemed anything less than ecstatic, I became agitated. “What’s wrong? What do you mean today was fine? It was fantastic!” The more I strove to please and demanded appreciation, the more he shut down.
It was not long before I was feeling hurt. I started asking myself (and even God), “Why is he so mean? Why is he so stressed? What’s wrong with him?”
Pointing the finger
I wonder how often we pray about the problems of other people when we should really be asking the Lord to shine His light into our hearts?
After a day of friction, my husband eventually blurted out, “Why are you so stressed?” I quickly responded, “What on earth are you talking about?” And he replied, “I think you should ask yourself that question.”
So I prayed. Very soon, the Spirit of God showed me that I was full of strife, desperately seeking to please. I said sorry and stopped striving. Soon peace was restored. But it made me realise how easy it is to blame our self-made pain on others.
In Matthew 7:3, Jesus asks us all a question: “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?”
I’ve often read that verse and thought, “But his – or her – (depending on who was winding me up at the time) issue is way bigger than mine so this can’t possibly apply to me!” More judgement peppered with pride!
One of the problems with judgement is the the toxic mix of emotions it produces: anger, frustration, hurt and even stress. Graciousness towards the shortcomings of others cultivates peace.
The vast majority of the time, other people’s problems are none of my business. My job is to examine my heart. The only way I gain a right to speak into someone else’s life is when I’m free of accusation and judgement.
In fact, one sure sign of maturity is the ability to examine ourselves, even in the midst of testing times, even when others are behaving badly.
Making it easier
When we are wounded, it can be hard to admit to our shortcomings. If you feel that failing makes you a failure, God wants to restore your inner image. The more our hearts are healed, the more we are able to acknowledge our mistakes and mature.
If you would like the Holy Spirit to shine His light into your heart and remove any obstacles so that you can be free to fulfil your purpose, I encourage you to get hold of our books. And come along to Healed for Life, you will be amazed at what God will do!