Whenever I do couples therapy, neither one wants to examine themselves. “Fix the other and I’ll be OK!”
They wallow in the universal delusion that looking good is more important that being good.
I used to run around being terrified by the delusion that, if I admit the reality that “I am the chief of sinners”, God might find out! Oh no! Horrors! Then he will no longer love me, or that my sinful reality might be more that he can handle. My sin might overwhelm God’s puny grace?
I try to minimize the coming consequences of my sin by comparing with others. I think that if I seem to be less sinful than you then I must be OK. Like the pharisee who prayed “I thank God that I am not like these others.
I fear that whatever problem is revealed would have to be fixed by myself, and deep down, I know that I can’t even fix the tiny portion of my mess that I do admit to. Surely, if I turn out to be worse than that, then all would be lost!
The disciples ran around saying “Is it I?” when they should have said “If anyone would betray you, it would be I, so Lord what must I do to not betray you?”
There is no hope in finding out what part of my current mess I can blame on others. Tying my happiness and future to others changing, to their admitting their faults, to their being willing to make amends; is a guarantee of burnout and misery. As Einstein is famously quoted, and I paraphrase, “If I come at life making the same mistake that didn’t work yesterday and expect it to work today–I am insane” OK I know that we are all insane but by the grace of God I can take my thoughts out of the way and let his thoughts and ways take over and exhibit his sanity.
So when I catch myself thinking, “Well it’s not all my fault, what about them?” I need to change it to “I sure hope it is ALL my fault because then God can help me fix ALL of it.” Unfortunately there will probably be some part of it that is others fault or is the result of living in a sinfilled world. I must not wait for the other person to change before working on my contribution. I must not give in to the temptation to believe that if the other doesn’t change there is no point to letting God help me with my part. When God shows me that my part is bigger than I thought, I need to rejoice because the problem was already there and now God can help me with it. I need to rejoice and be exceeding glad when God cares enough to show me my messed up condition, and ask “Search me O God and know my heart and lead me in new paths.” Then rather than burning out fixing others who don’t want to change, I can share with those who ask: “In my life God has shown me my issues and helped me change, so he could help you also.”