Friday, April 19, 2013

More Wisdom: Am I Looking at What My Part May Be? (Part 2)

Being human leads us inevitably to being in relationships with others who are bound to make us crazy. We may have fallen in love with someone who makes us crazy. Or we may have to work or live beside someone who does. Crazymakers may be our own children, our best friends, or the customer service representative on the other end of the phone.

As I follow up on my original post Six Questions for Any Relationship, when you are in a relationship that is making you crazy, one question to ask is: Am I looking at my part? That question is not the question that we really want to ask, because many of us want to point the finger at the other. And yet, even though you might find some justification for doing that, it ultimately gets you nowhere. You cannot change or control another person; you can only change yourself.

Look in the mirror
So, just try this on for a minute. Ask: Am I looking at my part in the relationship? I promise, where that question leads you will be far better.

In sharing wisdom about relating with people who just make you crazy, James 3:17 says, "The wisdom that comes from heaven (from above) is pure."

That may seem like an odd place to begin. How will that change anything? But think about how many of us relate to someone else –even someone we love and cherish. If we can be honest with ourselves for a moment, very often many of us have an underlying premise. So often relationships are good as long as they are good for me, as long as they serve me.

How many relationships have you heard end with the words something like: “You don’t make me happy anymore.” Or perhaps, “I don’t feel the same way I used to when we were first together.” Many of us never stop to think that the source of why we are sometimes feeling crazy and out of control in a relationship is partly due to what is going on inside of us. And having someone say that to us can be really hard to hear.

You see, often the irritation I feel from someone else is a sign that there is something out of sorts in me. It may come from feeling that my needs aren’t being met. That’s not always the case, but it frequently can be.

How would our relationships with the people who make us crazy begin to change if we asked, “How can I honor God in this relationship? Once we deal honestly with our part, space is created for the relationship to change, and more importantly, to transform. 

James says, God’s wisdom (the wisdom that comes from above) is first pure. Try not to hear that word in moralistic terms. In this case, James does not mean it in terms of sin, or in any way that produces unnecessary guilt and certainly not shame. It's just not about that. 

Try to hear this word in a different way, in a context that is more accurate to James intention. 

Purity in this context is simply taking a close look at myself and asking, Am I looking at what my part may be? I promise you, if you do, and really take a hard and honest look, if you seek others you trust who might help you see what perhaps you might not be able to see, you will go to far better place in a relationship. 

It will the better way to honor God, not to mention the other person.