Saturday, February 17, 2007

Confessions of a Control-Freak

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Jesus in Matthew 7:1-5

How many times have I read this, but suddenly reading this yesterday, it made new sense.

As a control-freak, I must confess that judgment is the first leg of the journey to control. First you look at what someone else is doing with a critical eye. You see how they could do it so much better (your way, of course!) and then you try to figure out how you can convince them (read: control them) to doing it your better way. For their own good, of course.

As an aggressive control freak, I am up front and in your face about it. I have friends however (and of course, I love you dearly!) who are much more subtle about it. I call them, (affectionately!) passive-aggressive. I love my mother-in-law's middle of the road technique. She starts those conversations with "I don't want to tell you what to do, but..." You just have to giggle because she is just cute.

Here, our Beloved Jesus tells us not to judge, but He implies that you can help someone else, but only after you have been through it yourself.

Having teenagers is like that. It is easy to watch a friend struggling with a rebellious teen and say "You should do ..." as long as all your own kids are in grade school. Or if none of your own kids developed a rebellious streak in their teens. If you have really suffered through this yourself, you would be much more likely to listen to your troubled friends while you are hugging and weeping over them and then pray earnestly for them.

First take the plank out of your own eye.

When you have finally seen your own plank, when you have experienced how difficult it is to get it out and keep it out, how much you must depend on Christ to do it, then and only then, can you be of any real service to your sister who has a speck in her eye. If you have not experienced it yourself, you just have NO IDEA. Really.

Jesus, Beloved, forgive me for so often judging. You tell us that Your yoke is easy and that means for us control-freaks that You only will be judging us for us, not for them. Your easy yoke does not include fixing them, only ourselves. And then only with Your divine help!

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