Saturday, February 22, 2014

Are You A Speck Inspector?

by Jill Jackson

  Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the     best “speck inspector” of them all? 

Some women are married to bad men who participate in physically, emotionally, or spiritually destructive activities, and their life is miserable. This article is not addressing that particular challenge. I’m talking to many of us who still have the chance to make things better today, if we would start with . . . the woman in the mirror. 

A godly woman is willing to face the reality that she’s making some big mistakes. Doesn’t the Lord require us to ask tough questions? Looking into God’s word, what might we discover? Some might realize they’ve been majoring in minors, and that game leads to some major problems. Listen to Christ’s warning about holding others to a higher standard than we hold ourselves, and ask yourself: “Am I the ‘speck inspector’ in my home? 

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt 7:3-5).

Many woman complain about domestic issues (e.g., the trash that didn’t get taken out or the dirty laundry left on the floor). Others raise relationship issues (e.g., the time a husband spends with his buddies). At some point, many women have thought: “I wish I could change______ about my marriage.” Translation: “I wish I could change_____ about my husband.” Therefore, the perceived remedy for marital happiness, becomes “changing” the husband.  

Unfortunately, this “solution” leads to more frustration and unhappiness, because the relationship is complicated by it, rather than enhanced. Are the thoughts and feelings you have for your husband compelling you to seek a solution? Will you choose to do something productive, or pointless? 

It’s pointless to have a lazer-like focus on what’s wrong with your husband. Do you struggle to see his good qualities because you focus on his faults (e.g., He works too many hours, verses he’s willing to put in long hours so I can stay home with our children)? Do you allow your energy to be drained by longing for all the things you don’t have . . . someone else who would be more attentive to you, who would help more around the house, who would not invite company over without asking, who would be more like so-and-so’s husband. Does the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side mentality govern your mind? Nothing good can result from these pointless thoughts. 

There will be times when there’s a speck in our husband’s eye. Perhaps he does work too many hours. Maybe he struggles to find a balance between his job and his role as a husband and father. No doubt, he could be better in many ways. Can’t we all? Maybe some specks need to be addressed, but if your habit is to always focus on his faults, you have a log! 

If your desire is to change your marriage for the better, you need to quit engaging in pointless actions and start engaging in productive actions. Getting the log out of your eye is productive! Before you can address the speck, as someone with credible concerns, you have to get your heart right. You have to be open to seeing the truth about yourself. 

Christ addressed this principle when he said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23)! 

When “the eye” (e.g., the heart) is healthy, it focuses on good things (Philippians 4:8) and is full of light. Finding the good in others helps a person to be cheerful, pleasant to be around, successful in endeavors, and prosperous spiritually. 

If the eye is bad, the focus will be on all that’s wrong. The diseased eye surrounds the soul with darkness. It lacks good judgement and the ability to reason.  The bad eye creates a state of misery that leads one to spiritual poverty, or perhaps ruin (Mark 7:20-23). If you want to create positive changes in your marriage, you need “healthy eyes.” You have to be willing to see the good and put things in proper balance. 
Focusing on “what’s right” about our husbands is productive. This is where treatment for the “bad eye” begins. When we start to focus on that list of grievances, we need to stop in our tracks and pray for help. Then, we need to make a new list about “what’s right” with our husbands. Why did you marry him? What are the qualities you found endearing about him? Think on those things and thank God for those good things! 

Work to replace the negative feelings you have with positive ones. Robert Fulghum said, “The grass is greenest where it is watered.” Quit watering the grass of negativity and start watering the grass of positivity! Revive your feelings with thankfulness—gratitude for what you have instead of grumbling about what you don’t have. 

Focusing on things you can change is productive, and that means taking an honest look at self. What are your weaknesses? If you want to improve your marriage the journey starts with you. What can you do better as a wife? Could you be more patient and kind, more giving (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)? Could you apply the golden rule better (Matthew 7:12)? If you demanded more of yourself would it make your marriage better . . . even if your husband is not making the same effort?

Scripture indicates your example has the power to influence others for good. The Bible teaches that a wife, faithfully applying the scriptures to her life, can win a husband to Christ “without a word” (1 Peter 3:1-2). She also could help her child to become a dedicated servant of Christ (e.g., Timothy). By doing a better job of living and loving like Christ, can we make our marriages better? Absolutely. 
Can I say with certainty that, because of your positive efforts, your husband will address the speck in his eye? No, because we possess free will. But I can say with certainty that productive actions provide an avenue of hope for something better. Pointless actions, such as withdrawing, or fighting, won’t help a bit.

The closer you walk to God, the happier you’ll be as a person and a wife. Treat your husband like you want the Lord to treat you, and you’ll develop the patience and contentment that will help you keep the log out of your eye, so you can deal gently with the speck in his. 

Do marriages go through changes? Of course they do. Mort Fertel said, “Marriages change not because of what people say or how well they listen; marriages change because of what people do.” What are you going to do to change your marriage? Choose to be productive. Maintain a healthy perspective about your husband and yourself. Focus on what’s right. Work on your flaws. With God’s help, let your marriage change into something great by making yourself—the one person you can control—better. 

Fulghum, Robert. Robert Fulghum. Wikiquote. Web. 20 Feb.2014. 

Reich, Ashley. How To Save A Marriage: 6 Unconventional Tips. Huffington Post. Web. 01 July 2013. 20 Feb. 2014

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