Leaning in or pulling away

We’ve been considering some of the excuses we make when we check out on relationships.

To fold your arms and say, “I already tried,” is just another form of saying, “I quit.” This is not leaning into the relationship. At its best, it is standing still, and at its worst, it is pulling away. The goal is to keep the door open, which is both an attitude and an action. It also is a process.

The first of four decisions you must make to reconcile with another person is to get back to the other person, not get back at them. No matter whose fault it was and no matter how bad it is, I will do everything I can to get back to them, not get back at them. I am not punishing. I am pursuing. That eliminates the first excuse, which says, “I don’t care,” and the second excuse, which says, “I already tried.”

The third excuse is to say, “It wasn’t my fault.” This is where most of us want to take it. It is never my fault. It is always someone else’s fault. How could it be my fault? Whether it was or wasn’t your fault is really beside the point.

For Christ followers, we must be willing to acknowledge the fact that reassembly always begins with us. If I asked who is the healthiest and most mature person in the relationship, we would all say, “That’s me.” If that is true and you really are the healthiest and most mature person in the relationship, shouldn’t you make the first move? The same is true if you are the adult, the parent, a Christian, etc.

God made the first move toward us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He did this not so he could get back at us but so he could get back to us, or better said, so he could get us back to him. He invites us to do the same for the people around us. Don’t use the other person’s behavior as an excuse to cross your arms and check out.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus posed a question you have no doubt heard before. He said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

We’ll pick up with this question next time.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor at The Point in Seymour. You may email him at [email protected]. His weekly blog can be found at pastorgreene.wordpress.com. Send comments to [email protected].