During the years that so-called Christian psychology influenced me, I read a book that seemed to describe my mother perfectly. Applying its descriptors to her convinced me that I suffered as a victim of her dysfunction. My analysis of her was ever so convenient, giving me wonderful excuses to rationalize my sinful behavior toward her.
Occasionally those pesky Scriptures about honoring your father and your mother would cross my mind. In such moments, I’d see the disconnect between Christian psychology and Scripture. Somehow, I’d always find a way to reconcile the two so that I could keep the blame mostly on her. Looking back, I see how psychological principles protected me from coming to the Lord in humility and repentance.
Like so many present-day evangelicals, I chose to embrace psychology and minimize the very words of Christ.
Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~~Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV)
Mom may well have been dysfunctional. As far as I could determine (and only God really knows) she wasn’t truly a Christian, and therefore I had no reason to expect anything but dysfunction from her. If I had been thinking Biblically, I would have approached our many conflicts by asking the Holy Spirit to show me my own sin in each instance.
Psychology, even when it claims to be Christian, quite often tempts us to focus on the specks in the eyes of others. Sometimes we’ll admit to having logs in our own eyes. But on those rare occasions, we generally blame our logs on the people with the specks.
God’s Word encourages us to take responsibility for our own thoughts, attitudes and actions rather than blaming other people. Consider David’s prayer:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! ~~Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)
Even when someone actually does wrong us, the Lord wants us to see any sin on our part before we point fingers and proclaim our innocence. Sulking in a corner as we analyze that person’s dysfunctional personality may comfort us, but it betrays our unwillingness to apply the Word of God to ourselves.
Ladies, don’t let so-called Christian psychology keep you locked into analyzing other people. Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of your own sin first. Once that log comes out of your eye, you may even discover that the other person doesn’t really have a speck in her eye after all.