Counselee: “My wife doesn’t respect me.”
Me: “Why do you think you’re not easy to respect?”
Counselee: “What does this have to do with me?”
Counselee: “My parents are such idiots!”
Me: “You know, I don’t think the Lord’s glorified when you talk about your parents that way. ”
Counselee: “You’re just like my parents! Why’s it always my fault?!”
Friend: “When you’re talking with atheists, it doesn’t do any good to quote the Bible to them.”
Me: “Well, I don’t see any other options. God says His Word is powerful and effective. My human reasoning won’t sway them if His Word doesn’t.”
Friend: “Yeah, I don’t think it works.”
Me: “Maybe you need to reconsider the sufficiency of the Scripture. What’s God been teaching you in His Word recently?”
Friend: “Why does this have to be about me?”
Of course, you realize that few conversations actually work this quickly. Wisdom dictates that it take a bit longer to get from the first observation to the last.
Still, over the past ten years of family counseling I can’t remember a single situation where a counselee was perfectly innocent within a conflict. There wasn’t a single man who hadn’t provoked his children to wrath or not lived with his wife according to knowledge. I never counseled a wife who’d submitted to her husband and loved her children consistently. And – believe it or not – I never met a child who honored and obeyed his parents without fault.
They all had grievances, they all had mental fingers to point, they all had emotional subpoenas to deliver, they all had judgment to bear down . . . but they all had responsibility too. Each train-wrecked relationship was partially their doing. Each argument was of their own making.
The same goes for me.