Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV
A woman walked into a psychologist’s office, full of anger about her marriage and her life, After listening to the woman for a few minutes he shocked her with his question. “How much of the problem is your husband’s and how much is yours?
She thought about it and replied that about 75% of the problems in her marriage were her husband’s responsibility. Inwardly, she felt vindicated believing this counselor understood her pain..
He looked at her with compassion and said, “Are you willing to work on your 25% of the problems and see what will happen? You can’t change your husband, but if you’re willing, God can help you to change.”
Knowing she could no longer live with the painful anger and depression inside, she agreed to work with God and her counselor on her 25% of the marriage problems. Through her counseling sessions and in her private devotions, she experienced the patience and compassion of a loving Father-God.
As she took responsibility for her issues, she began to react with more patience. and compassion toward her husband. Her anger didn’t flare up as often and things flowed more smoothly between them. She began to find good things to comment about in her day-to-day dealings with him.
One day she walked into her counselor’s office and stated, “I’m beginning to think that the percentages were reversed. Seventy-five percent of the trouble in our marriage was with me. God has helped me and what a difference it has made between my husband and I.”
Sometimes the person we most need to be patient and compassionate toward is ourselves before we can learn how to be compassionate toward others.
Lord, check my heart today. Help me to be patient and compassionate toward myself as I struggle to take responsibility for my outward physical and inner emotional life – to be a healthier, happier person in you. And as I learn to care about myself, help me to extend that same care to others. Amen.