By: Conrad Tolosa,
No matter how much we like someone, relationships become difficult at times – especially with the people closest to us. Especially if they insist on eating at Taco Bell.
The problem is that the other person, be it our spouse, kid, or friend, isn’t perfect. They make mistakes.
They’ll do something that is selfish, they’ll be impatient, they’ll have a lack self-control, they’ll be annoying and bad-tempered. But the problem doesn’t stop there – but in fact it gets compounded.
Instead of trying to resolve the situation, most of the time we respond in the exact same way we’re being treated. If someone is yelling at us, we yell right back. If someone is being impatient with us, we’re impatient right back. Instead of helping – we become willing participants in our relationship’s demise.
We create a cycle. A downward spiral.
And when this is the norm – that’s when you see unhappy marriages and families.
Let’s pose this question – if both of you are sinful and help screw up a relationship, what will work better, you trying to get them to be less sinful, or starting with yourself?
Imagine you trying to pull someone out of a hole. But, how can you get someone out of a hole if you’re right in with them? Or even worse, how you can help them get out of a hole if you’re even further in?
How can you teach them patience if you are more impatient that they? How can you teach love, if you show it less?
That’s what would happen if we first try to work on fixing their problems. You have to first fix your problems if you have any hope of ministering to theirs.
And therein lies the problem. We’re terrible at self-diagnosis.
We can see the symptoms of our sickness: stress in family, arguments, disobedient kids, our spouse listening to smooth jazz – but it’s much harder to figure out what type of sickness we have.
Is it because of a lack of leadership on our part? Lack of patience? Lack of wisdom, love, self-control?
What are we lacking as a spouse? As parents? As children? As friends?
So what do we do?
This is where it gets hard – because there is one thing well all lack to some extent… humility.
1. Find humility.
Drop your pride, and don’t worry about who is ‘right’, but rather be right with God.
2. Pray for wisdom.
Pray that you would be able to figure out where you need to grow as well as the triggers in the relationship that cause problems so that you can attempt to lessen them.
3. Seek wisdom from others.
More humility. Ask others on the areas you can grow and what mistakes you might be making in the relationship.
4. After you put that into action, when you try to deal with the other person focus on these traits: humility, love and wisdom. And when it comes to wisdom, thinking long term always helps.
So get yourself out of the hole first, then help them out.