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Your Piece Of The Pie

Major relationship problems are like pies - they don’t spontaneously appear! We see smoke before fire and our relationships give warning signs before they blow up! Most couples considering divorce have struggled for years and done nothing to improve their marriage. They have fought and withdrawn, then after they’ve made a decision to divorce do they go and get help!

Pain is the warning sign in any relationship and it invites us to take a closer look. If you are experiencing pain because your child is becoming increasingly withdrawn you might want to stop and ask, “Is this a warning sign? What is happening? Am I doing something to cause this?” If you have a friend who is lashing out or withdrawing from you ask, “What’s causing this?” If you are constantly fighting with your spouse you need to stop and ask questions.

If you decide to look into the pain in your relationship odds are you will find something you’re doing to cause it. I think of it like a pie, the blame pie. The pie represents all the blame in your relationship and you have a piece. Your piece might be the same size as the other person’s, but most often one piece is bigger than the other.

The important question is not whose piece is bigger, but what are you going to do with your piece? Too often we cut up the blame pie and fixate on the other person's piece. We want them to eat their sliver before we think about the giant piece in front of us! We do this because it's easier and requires less work, but it is not productive. Instead, I would suggest you eat your own piece and own your piece of the blame. We call this repentance. Repentance prepares the way for restoration. Shifting the blame only leads to more blame.

We usher in repentance with the four most powerful words we can say in any relationship. These words are: “It was my fault.” When you say this, you are owning your piece of the pie and taking ownership for the parts you’ve contributed. Taking ownership is powerful! I’ve seen it time and time again when someone comes to me prepared for a fight. They’re angry, they want to tell me what they really think of me. I totally deflate the situation when I admit, “It was my fault. I’m sorry.”

Repentance interrupts the cycle of vengeance and starts a cycle of reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing. It does this in our relationships with people and in our relationship with God. There are two key differences in this heavenly relationship. The first difference is that with God the blame pie is all yours. God isn’t going to share it with you, because he’s done nothing wrong. The second difference is if you acknowledge and repent of your sin before God he’ll eat the blame for you.

Joel 2:12-14 (NRSV) Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.