By Pastor Joe Palmer
Fellowship Baptist Church
There are a couple of police shows on TV which I watch semi-regularly. Most of the time an episode will begin with crime a scene. Usually a body is found, and the crime-fighters get to work figuring out who did the terrible deed. In the same way, after an episode of real-life conflict between ourselves and someone else, we get on the job of trying to figure out who is to blame for the bad deed and hurtful words.
The funny thing is that we are almost always the culprit we seek. It takes two to have conflict just as it takes two to tango. Sure the other person is certainly at fault; we wouldn’t have fought if we thought otherwise. Nevertheless, the more we think about it the more it becomes apparent that we are to blame also. But we don’t want to admit it do we? We go on condemning others for failing us in some way, and then because we don’t trust God to be our ultimate happiness we shift our dependence to another person who eventually fails us. We find ourselves in conflict with them too, and the process is repeated, and eventually we begin wondering if maybe there isn’t something wrong with us. We end up saying, “I hate me; something is wrong with me, and that is why people fail me.” A poor self-image and self-condemnation come from depending exclusively on other peoples’ actions and words.
If, however, I can trust God to love me no matter what because of Christ, then I can either refuse to enter into conflict, or if I have done something wrong I can find rest in being honest with myself and with others. I can say, “I judge me. When I fail to love you, I’m wrong.” To admit the truth even when it makes us look bad, brings freedom and rest. But to be honest about our faults, we must first be honest with ourselves about our need to have a relationship with that purely good God who loves us.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.