This morning, I got ready for work and then went to where Melissa was to ask her a question. I was in a good mood. Well, I was trying to be. After getting a response, she asked me for my insight on another subject. She was struggling with a task she was working on. She wasn’t meeting her goals and wanted my input. I needed more information before giving feedback so I asked some clarifying questions. Part of her answer included the fact that she was “always tired”. My response was, “Whine, whine, whine”. You probably can guess that she was not impressed with my comment, to say the least.
In the proceeding conversation, we talked about what I meant and why I said what I said. First, I talked about me being impatient with her, but that just didn’t seem to get to the bottom of why I would be so insensitive. Then I focused on how I felt like she was frequently being negative in what she thought and said. Basically, I was subtly putting the blame on her. Another assessment was that it was just a misunderstanding. Nope, that didn’t seem to hit the mark either. We were searching for the heart issue that led me to disregard my wife’s feelings and struggle, and it finally it hit me.
The “A-ha! Moment” occurs.
I whine too! A lot! For a brief moment, as I was talking with her this morning, I actually wasn’t whining. Then I got angry when I thought she was! This was MY issue, not hers! Paul was right when he wrote, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2:1, ESV). How could I look down on what I perceive as another person’s whine-fest, when I “practice the very same thing”?!
Why do we do this?
One reason I did this, and a possible reason we all do this, is because of the frustration of struggling with something I cannot seem to fix or control in myself. I don’t like that I whine about things. However, I catch myself doing it. I don’t like things that I whine about not changing. Anger sets in because I fail to let go of my expectations and continue to whine when they are not met. This anger brews to the point that when I sense my own type of behavior in others, the anger seeps out. It may come out as a snide, sarcastic comment, or in some other way. I often hurt somebody close to me in the process.
We must be willing to look at ourselves in the mirror.
It is so very important for us to look at ourselves when evidence presents itself that something is wrong. Temptations to blame others, deny a problem with ourselves, and to hide behind some form of angry behavior will be pressing on us. However, we can choose humility over those things and be honest with ourselves and trusted others around us (in my case this morning, it was the one I hurt…my wife). We need to remember that when we see something in someone else that provokes such an angry or, in some other way, hurtful response that it’s likely because of a personal, unresolved heart issue.
Our failures never change God’s love for us.
Because of His unchanging love for us, God wants to resolve these issues that cause us and our relationships such a problem. He knows that we are powerless to manage our wounds, so He is constantly working on our behalf. He desires that we be free to enjoy each other through giving and receiving love. To tap into His power over these things, the first big step is to practice humility. We must acknowledge that, even if someone else has done something hurtful, if we respond with hurtful words and/or actions then THAT reaction has something to do with us. Whether our heart issue is due to hurt (something someone else has done to us) or guilt (something we have done), God can help us sort it out in the presence of humility and set us free from the bondage we are in.
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