by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
Last week I introduced “plank-in-eye syndrome.” This syndrome is the tendency to believe the things we do are right or justifiable, but not extending that to others (see Matthew 7:3-5). Think about the last time you experienced road rage. Most likely whatever driving offense set you off is one you, yourself have done. That is an example of plank-in-eye syndrome. The slogan for this disorder would be, “Everyone’s an idiot but me.”
Hopefully, after reading the last blog, you have been looking at Jesus and trying not to focus on what you see as flaws in others. But while you are in recovery, I want to offer some rules to help navigate your relationships until that pesky plank is removed.
Rule #1: You have a right to ask others for help, but you do not have the right to critique how they help you. Remember, with that plank in your eye you will suffer from the delusion that you have cornered the market on how to do just about everything. And you may be tempted to share your knowledge base with others. Resist! There are many, many ways to fold a towel. Even if your way provides more storage space and looks better, that doesn’t make it right.
Rule #2: If you can’t stand the way others do things, you have every right to do it yourself. But please don’t martyr yourself in the process. Grumbling during your towel folding about how “nobody does anything around this house but me” is not okay. If you opt out of rule 1 and go for rule 2, just so you can have your perfect linen closet, you are the one who made that choice.
Rule #3: You cannot combine rules 1 & 2. For example, having someone help fold the towels, then going back and re-folding them is as bad an infraction as martyring yourself. It silently shouts out the “everyone’s an idiot but me” slogan. It also makes others resistant to helping you. Why bother if you are going to critique and re-do? Resentments will grow in your household, and you won’t even know why. So what if your linen closet is a wreck. Seriously, so what?
If your idea of being right makes someone else wrong, you are not operating like Jesus. Jesus died to make wrong people righteous, not self-righteous. Wouldn’t you rather suffer a messy linen closet than crush the spirit of an eager little helper? I say this with love, but your way is not superior if you are hurting others in the process. To quote Bob Goff, “burning down others’ opinions doesn’t make us right, it makes us arsonists.”
Jesus said that we will be called to give an account for every careless word spoken (Matthew 12:36). Not for every towel folded. The people in your life matter way more than your linen closet, your house, your car, and even your bank account. The Bible tells us we are called to be good stewards of what God’s given us. Do you think He was just talking about money and possessions, or do you think maybe He was talking about the people He’s given you to love?