It’s Not Me!

A concerned husband goes to see the family doctor: “I think my wife has a hearing problem. I often have to repeat things again and again before she hears me.”

“Well,” the doctor replies, “When you go home tonight, stand about 15 feet from her and say something. If she doesn’t reply, move about five feet closer and say it again. Keep doing this so we can get an idea of the severity of her problem.”

So the husband goes home and does exactly as instructed. He stands about 15 feet from his wife, who is standing in the kitchen, chopping some vegetables.

“Honey, what’s for dinner?”

He gets no response, so he moves about five feet closer and asks again.

“Honey, what’s for dinner?”

No reply.

He moves five feet closer, and still no reply.

He gets fed up and moves right behind her, about an inch away, and asks one final time, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”

She says, “For the fourth time, vegetable stew!”

A running joke on the Seinfeld show was about breaking off a relationship with the line “It’s not you, it’s me.” Sometimes the line is true. Sometimes it really is me. The other person doesn’t have the hearing problem, I do. The other person doesn’t need to get better, I do.

The same can be said for your situation. There’s always the possibility that it’s you, not those around you, who can’t hear. There’s always the possibility that it’s you, not those around you, who needs to adapt to the circumstances.

This applies to our relationships with one another and it applies to our relationship with God. Solomon said, “A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3) This is the ultimate blame-placing strategy, but it gets us nowhere.

Getting back on track starts with the realization that it may not be the other guy who needs to be fixed. Maybe it’s me. Is there a possibility that it might be the same for you?