We are naturally self-centred and therefore it’s not easy for us to accept what other people say about us. We have a built in instinct to defend ourselves and criticise situations or others, if we do not approve.
It is interesting that Adam was created in the Image and Likeness of God. When they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve lost their Image and likeness of God. This nature was then transferred down the line of humankind to us today. All the cultures we know today, were born out of this fallen nature. The fallen nature is not restricted to certain cultures – ALL of humanity received it. Pride and self-centeredness make up part of the natural characteristics that we are born with.
Relationships are very important to the structure of our social society. Relationships are built on communication. From solid relationships come unity and strength. The minute communication breaks down, relationships start to crumble. This is true for marriages and family life.
If the person or persons we love were physically ill, we would find ourselves caring for them. Doing whatever we can to make their lives that bit more comfortable. Why is it then when these people so close to us have emotional characteristics that we don’t agree with, we seem to take offense? It seems the last thing we want to do is to ‘nurse’ them through the emotional illness like we would do with a physical illness.
Surely if we love a person, as much as we want to see them physically healthy, we should want to see them emotionally healthy? What prevents us from nursing our loved one’s emotional character?
We need to accept that our loved ones will emotionally hurt us and we will become offended. Once offended, our reaction is either anger, retaliation, withdrawal or feelings of guilt. Pride and self-centeredness cause us to react in a negative way.
What do we need to do to strengthen our relationships?
We need to learn to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person. Try to see their point of view and have compassion towards their opinion or feelings. True compassion and understanding cannot come from our human nature. True compassion is based in the character of Jesus. Part of the journey we experience in this life is to transform from our old natures to our new Christ based nature.
Genuinely listening to our loved ones and having compassion requires us to be attentive to what they are saying. We cannot be attentive when we are interjecting with how we feel. Listen – confirm what your partner said – discuss a solution that suits both parties. Hearing and then listening to what our partner says will need a sense of humility from our side. A humility that puts our opinions aside, a humility that doesn’t jump at the opportunity to tell them how we have been offended, a humility that will listen and hear with compassion.
Once we understand what the emotional challenge is in the life of our loved one, its time to see if we can help nurse them back to health. In particular, marriage is a team event. Husband and Wife are co-heirs to the Kingdom of God and therefore should be helping each other in every way, not working in opposition to one another.
Some pointers to help us nurse one another’s emotional weaknesses:
• Identify the hurt
• Apologize (if necessary)
• Forgive (if necessary) – Forgiveness, is first and foremost, a choice not a feeling
• Begin each day with a fresh start and no backlog
We need to ask the Lord each day, to help us daily live out of our new nature in Christ. When we try to do these things in our own strength, we fail and become demoralised.
From: “time with the Master…”
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