Whatever Bothers Me...
"But he, willing to justify himself…."1
Years ago when I was taking a course in counselor training, the lecturer made the comment, "Whatever bothers you is your problem."
His statement was a rude awakening for me. Actually, my biggest problem was that I was in denial about "my" biggest problem—me! I thought my issue at the time was what somebody else had done to me. I, too, was all too willing to justify myself.
I was feeling very hurt but discovered that beneath my hurt was a whole lot of pent-up hurt and anger from past unresolved experiences. I was also in denial about why I was attracted to the person whom I was accusing of hurting me.
What another person does to me may or may not be a problem. How I react is always my responsibility, and to the degree that I overreact that is always my problem.
I need to realize that nobody can hurt my feelings or make me angry without my permission, which, of course, doesn't justify what hurtful things others do to me or what I do to them. If, for example, I am a super-sensitive person because of past hurts, I will usually overreact to people and blame them for hurting my feelings. While the real reason I am SO hurt is because I haven't resolved my hurt from the past.
To overcome relational conflicts both parties need to admit what they are contributing to the issue at hand and see when they are overreacting—and know why! When we overreact, as long as we deny it and justify ourselves, and play the blame game, we will B-LAME—and never resolve the conflict at hand.
Suggested Prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of denial and confront me with the reality of what I am contributing to every conflict in which I find myself—whether it is at work, home, or with a friend or loved one. Help me to take full responsibility for my feelings, actions, and overreactions—and stop justifying myself when I am overreacting. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Luke 10:29.