Ten years ago, I had a doctor’s appointment that, well, didn’t go very well. The doctor informed me that by pretty much every standard I was unhealthy. I was 100 pounds overweight, borderline diabetic, had high cholestrol, various stomach issues, and more. She informed me that on my current course I was unlikely to live past my sixties. How did I respond to this news? Like about any man: I blamed everyone and everything but myself! My weight was because I was big boned, because of genetics, because of society, because of McDonald’s marketing practices, etc. For a year I did nothing to improve my health because, in my mind, there was nothing for me to do. Everything was someone else’s fault. After a year, I finally realized that the only person responsible for my health was me. I was the one to blame, and it was my responsibility to fix the problem. Over the course of a year I lost over one hundred pounds and saw my health change radically for the better. None of this could have happened, however, if I hadn’t learn to stop blaming others and take responsibility myself.
I share this example because I believe many men have this same attitiude when it comes to our family. We blame all the problems and challenges in our family on others: on our wife, our children, society, television, cell phones, the internet, etc. Because everything wrong in our family is someone else’s fault, we do little to nothing to improve our family. This is, however, far from God’s receipe for living. Take a look at Philipians 2:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philipians 2:1-4
Paul teaches us that if we’ve received ANY benefit from believing in Christ than we need to be focused on improving others. We need to enter EVERY relationship we are in, whether it be our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. with an atittude that its not about us. Its not about what we will get out of a relationship, but how we can improve others in our relationships. Why is this the case? Because that was, and is, the attitude of Christ. In His relationship with us Christ is not focused on His own glory, but on improving us now and forever. From now on, I encourage us all to adopt this same mentality in our families (and, indeed, in all relationships). Stop blaming others for the challenges in your family, and start doing what YOU can to improve your family in Christ’s name each and every day.