You want to know one of the hardest three-word statements to make? “I am wrong.”
It’s so easy to point out wrong in others. It’s so easy to want it to be someone else’s fault. It’s so easy to get critical and cynical and caught up in our limited perspectives.
But boy is it hard to see our own flaws. Where we went wrong. What we need to own.
I’ve been challenging myself on this. I recently had to correct one of my children for trying to blame someone else for something my child needed to own themselves.
I could clearly see the pride, the insecurity, and the fear all wrapped around her blaming words. And why could I see it so clearly?
Because it’s always easier to spot in other people. But when I see pride in others, that’s the exact moment where I must challenge myself to examine my own heart.
In most conflicts I have two ways I can choose to travel:
The Path of Pride: I can blame the other person, focus only on their flaws and refuse to own my part of it. That response will increase my pride and decrease the Lord’s blessing in my life.
The Humble Way: I can honestly assess what I’m contributing to this conflict, admit where I went wrong and ask for forgiveness. That response will lead to humility and increase the Lord’s blessing in my life.
I see this principle woven throughout the Bible:
James 4:6b, “That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (NIV)
Proverbs 29:23, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” (NIV)
Matthew 23:12, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (NIV)
I know this. I believe this. So, why do I still find it hard to implement sometimes?
Well, here’s where my head wants to go when I start examining certain conflicts: But what if it really isn’t my fault? It’s not fair to assign the blame with me when this person did this and this and this.
But that’s the wrong direction to go. Don’t try to assign the blame. Just own the part you brought into the conflict. When I approach conflict with a heart of humility, I’ve yet to see where I haven’t added something to the issue.
And if the other person doesn’t own their issues — the Lord will deal with them. (See the verses above.)
There are gifts hidden in the tough stuff of conflict. There is grace and honor to be gained. But I’ll only see those gifts if I stop blaming others and start examining myself.
Help your child develop humility with “10 Biblical Truths for Your Child Whether They Win or Lose.”
It’s the perfect resource every mom needs as we point our kids toward God’s Word this school year.
Wow, Lisa, God is speaking to my heart about this very issue LOUDLY the past few days. Thank you for helping me understand this issue better. God is so great.
How can I subscribe to your blog through email? I can’t get a link to it.
Would you believe that this is the second article I’ve read about this topic today? I think maybe I should pay attention.
Choosing humility is tough, but, as you’ve said, that is where the good stuff is, right in the middle of conflict.
Your writing is beautiful. Thank you for your words from God. Our 43 year old daughter recently told my husband and I (ages 74 and 76) she no longer wanted us in her life. It is so sad because she hasn’t even spoken to us about the issues – everything was told to her by her husband and we believe he heard what he wanted to hear. It’s a long story and our hearts are broken. My husband and I have walked with Christ for over 50 years – not as perfect people but as believers who raised 2 daughters with love and a happy home. Not a perfect home and certainly not a perfect mother but one where we had fun – not a lot of money but we lived where we could have horses, dogs, cats, chickens and just a fun place. They also took our 17 year old granddaughter from us. We spent her entire life taking all of our vacations to build a relationship with her; we went on many wonderful adventures together and we so loved her. We have a daughter who is developmentally disabled who lives with us and has given us so much strength and wisdom in this. It’s complicated, of course. Our daughter was hurt but she has her “facts” wrong too. She won’t let us explain or make amends for any harm or hurt we did cause. We acknowledge we are part of the problem but they are so judgmental and intolerant of us as old people. My husband lost his hearing but can hear enough to carry on a conversation if there isn’t a lot of background noise. This has irritated her husband and it does make a conversation a bit more difficult. When we moved from our country home to a city home to be closer to our daughter, it was difficult for us. We thought we could adapt and we tried for 2 years but just couldn’t stand the noise, the crowds, the traffic. My husband was also diagnosed with prostate cancer so the summer we thought we’d all have time to have fun together turned into radiation treatment for 12 weeks. It was tough but he didn’t complain. We’re so thankful to be our ages in very good health other than that. I keep praying and praying and praying and praying. I’ve tried contacting their pastor who ignores me. I was hoping for someone to mediate and try to work out our differences together in a Christ like manner. I’ve always tried to fix conflicts within the family w/the sisters or whenever hurt feelings occurred. I feel like we’ve been thrown away like garbage and that hurts. I also don’t like to wallow in self pity and don’t like thinking of my pain so much. I’d rather concentrate on others but I can’t seem to get out of this pit. It’s as if I don’t know how to live with part of my heart missing. I need my daughter back in my life. Friends, who I’ve shared this with, are in disbelief because they think we are the most unselfish people they’ve met – given our responsibilities w/our DD daughter etc. Any suggestions, advice would greatly be appreciated. This is not of God. The adversary is so happy that we, as Christians, are refusing to forgive. We would forgive our daughter in a heartbeat. She’s human, she was hurt but it’s been over 4 months now. Actually it was on my 74 birthday that my daughter sent us a letter saying she no longer wanted us in their lives. I cry every day – i know God allowed this and I keep praying that somehow He will be glorified in all of this. Your prayers are requested. Thank you for your beautiful writings. You bring me hope!
Mrs. Olsen, I just read your story. You touched my heart. I am praying for you. May the Lord deliver restoration in yalls relationship in His perfect timing.