“Lord, show me the plank in my eye.”
That was me not too long ago, praying in my kitchen out of desperation.
I’d like to say I uttered that prayer with an angelic countenance and contrite spirit … but that would be a lie. Instead, it came through slightly gritted teeth as I slammed cabinet doors.
In fact, the prayer came to mind unwarranted and unrequested, a remembrance from a quiet time I had a few days past. And frankly, I wanted nothing to do with it.
I Want To Be Angry
Honestly, I wanted to be angry and stay angry. I wanted to be RIGHT in my assumptions and to not care about the ramifications of telling it like it is.
I’m embarrassed to say that I can quite easily be angered, frustrated or irritated—and most especially toward the people I love most. Not-so-shockingly, that includes my new husband.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise, considering I typically possess an abundance of feelings. However, the seemingly unflappable nature of David contrasted with my not-so-unflappable nature has more vividly revealed this to me.
So there I was, in the kitchen, praying a prayer I had asked God to help me pray in times like this.
I Want To Cast Blame
Seemingly at the drop of a hat or the slightest provocation, pesky, resentful thoughts sneak in, leaving me with a choice to ruminate or reframe. Frankly, I’m often tempted to cast the blame solely at the feet of another.
Yet when I reframe most situations with the eyes of an impartial judge, I nearly always see how I’m playing into the anger that’s been aroused in my heart.
So there I was, praying in the kitchen, with all the feelings of anger still in my heart: “Lord, show me the plank in my eye.”
And He did.
In fact, God always seems to answer those prayers quickly. Within minutes of uttering this prayer, I saw an underlying issue feeding into my anger that I needed to ask David’s forgiveness for. Within MINUTES.
The End Result
I spent a few days working to understand why I reacted so strongly to a seemingly small irritation, and I shared my feelings and thoughts with David. Because there is room for growth on his part, just like there’s room for growth on my part.
Yet I cannot control his decisions; first and foremost, I have to focus on my own issues and actions. While it’s easier to fixate on the issues of others, it’s harder–and more rewarding for my relationships in the long run–to dig deep and take responsibility for where I’m going awry in my thoughts, attitudes or boundaries.
Spoiler alert: I’m not perfect. There are many, many, MANY other instances where I have fallen short, repented and asked for God’s forgiveness. I’m a broken, sinful human being, and this moment was by the grace of God, and God alone. The flesh was so weak in this moment (hence the gritted teeth and slamming cabinets), but the Spirit was willing and is willing to meet me in my moment of need.
There’s something especially humbling about taking ownership when you were at first pointing the finger. Now, if only I can keep choosing to do that, I’ll be set. Easy, right? (insert chuckle here)