Start with Yourself!
“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 from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye”. Matthew 7:3-5
Being a teenager is not an easy thing. Most teenagers struggle with growing up, dealing with difficult friends, pressure at school, feelings of inadequacy and failure. Many teenagers exhibit moodiness, erratic behavior, and many suffer from depression. As a parent of two girls I saw them both go through difficult times in their teenage years. Being a caring and loving parent, I wanted to “fix” their life, so that they wouldn’t have to go through this difficult time with so many fears and tears.
When I couldn’t find a way to “fix” them, I thought that they just needed someone else to fix them. Well, I must confess that most of my “fixing” simply made things worse. I was not adequately prepared to be a helpful parent to my teenage kids.
I remember the day my youngest daughter suggested “family therapy.” My immediate reaction was that my daughter was simply trying to deflect her issues on me instead of going through the hard work that she needed to do. How wrong I was!
As we went through therapy together, I learned what Jesus so wisely taught: that you must first get healthy yourself in order to be any help to another. I learned that, not only in my relationship with my daughter, but that in all relationships I needed to start with myself first! When I could become more aware of the logs in my own life I could then begin to have a healthier relationship with others, and “then perhaps” be of positive help to them.
Bringing It Home:
1. Got a troubled relationship you are concerned about? (OK just think of one). Ask yourself if you have been trying to fix others instead of looking inward to your own areas of growth and needed advance preparation. Seek to be honest with yourself about what needs to change in you to bring you to a healthier place.
2. Try to be open with the other person about the change that you are attempting to bring to your own life. They will see your commitment and it will be a blessing to you both.
Dear Lord, it is so easy to see the faults of others and to blame others for difficulties in relationships. Help me to see the logs in my life that keep my relationships from being what you want them to be. Help me to start with myself! Give me grace to look steadfastly to Jesus as my model and my guide. Then I’ll be better prepared to help others. Amen.
John A. Holm
Transforming Church Institute