Be careful, ’cause the ride can be a little bumpy!
Why is it that relationships are so messy and often fraught with turmoil? Why is it so hard for us to own our on stuff, to take an honest look at ourselves and then do something about what we see? Have you ever caught yourself saying, “He makes me so angry!” Or chastising your kids or a friend for exploding over the simplest infraction? What is that anyway?
One of my frequent sayings – to my kids, to my friends and chosen family – goes like this: When you bump a cup of tea, tea is what spills out! Nobody has the power to “make you mad” unless you give that power to them. If we fail to own our emotions, our thoughts, or our actions, there are always negative consequences.
But it is so much easier to play the blame game, isn’t it? It makes us feel so much better about ourselves – as long as we close our eyes and stick our heads in the sand like ostriches and refuse to take an honest look in the mirror.
Jesus put it to His disciples this way:
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
Then Jesus gave the following illustration:
“Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘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? 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. (Luke 6:37-42 NLT)
One technique that I’ve learned over the years is centered on humor – the ability to laugh at myself (I know, surprise, surprise!). This is especially helpful for me when I am holding myself accountable with trusted sisters, and occasionally brothers, in the Lord. When I am ready to judge another or get my nose out of joint because of what I see as a “wrong,” I just add the tag line, “Yeah, because I’m so perfect!” That little bit of humorous sarcasm is usually enough to remind me of my own “logs” and blindness – I don’t see the whole picture, only Yahweh does. And He says to respond with love and forgiveness and a heart for restoration!
So… next time you’re tempted to blame your anger or disappointment or irritability on someone else ~ remember to look inside your own cup to find out what’s there! And don’t be too surprised when you find out that the “tea” all over the table came from inside your own little teacup!
And just a quick reminder in the form of a word picture ~ do you remember what’s left for the rest of the world to see when the ostrich has it’s head in the sand? Don’t be an ostrich!