Do you remember that old chorus? "It's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer! Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me, O Lord! Standing in the need of prayer."
Those words have been running through my mind quite a bit lately, as I've struggled to communicate a message to my children.
It seems that the last few weeks there has been an epidemic of "let me tell you all about the other guys sins" running rampant in this household. I had been taking note of it, wondering about just the best way to deal with this little problem. It would go something like this:
Mommy to Child A: "Child A, Mommy is concerned because you didn't obey me when I asked you to _______"; you need to pay better attention and ...."
Somewhere about there, Child B interjects him/herself into the conversation with "I KNOW! He/she keeps doing_____, instead of ________....." And on it would go with the tales of the other's wrongdoing.
Driving home from church last week, I again pointed out some attitude or behavior to Child X that was unacceptable, when the interruption came. This time, I just called everything to a halt.
I said, "Child C (the interrupter in this case), Quick! I want you to confess to us all 3 things that you've really been struggling to get right. 3 areas where you need help and improvement. And the rest of you, be thinking. You're next."
Slow, stammering confessions. Each one wrestling within themselves to even think of 3 areas where they needed help! What would have been funny, had it not been so sad, was how helpful they all seemed to want to be to each other;so quick to help the other remember their faults and flaws! Even in the midst of the exercise, that "pointing out the beam" was so much easier than confronting their own weaknesses.
Now, I'm not trying to make a federal case out of what may be common sibling interaction. And I'm proceeding with care in trying to open my children's eyes to the inherent dangers of this way of thinking and interacting with others. I don't want to just "shut down" a behavior. I want to show them their own hearts and the hurt and harm that can be done if Jesus doesn't help them "look unto their own thing" before they look to the things of others.
But we grown-ups need reminders here too, don't we? We may not be so downright blatant in it, but probably should confess that while we know our own hearts and areas where we fail, it sure is easier to point out all the mess and misery and failure of the other guy.
Which takes me back to the little song. In my mind and heart, I stand before Him, and ask Him to search my own heart. And then I sing, "It's me, it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. It's me, it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. Not my brother, not my sister, but it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer."