Sermon Notes - November 10

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How to Kill a Relationship in 30 Days

Part 3 - Dwell on What's Wrong

We all want healthy relationships that are life-giving and make us better. But we all end up in one or two that just suck the life out of us. 

This is not how God intended us to live. He wants us to have healthy, fulfilling relationships that bring life to both people.

If you want to kill your relationships - Only Focus on What's Wrong.

83% of the marriages in the Prepare and Enrich Assessment that were in trouble said “My partner is too negative or critical.”

80% of troubled marriages said “My partner makes comments that put me down.”

But in contrast, 79% of happily married couples said “My partner does not make comments that put me down.”

Many of us tend to be critical thinkers. And there's a time and a place for that. But critical thinking does not work so well in relationships. Critical thinking is good when you're dealing with a problem. But with people we must take a different approach. We don’t have relationships with problems. But we do have relationships with people. And constant critical thinking kills relationships.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8

Quotes from the book Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf...

When you think, you build thoughts, and these become physical substances in your brain.  

You cannot control the events and circumstances of life, but you can control your reaction. 

Good thinking = good choices = healthy thoughts; toxic thinking = toxic choices = toxic thoughts. 

You are designed to stand outside yourself and observe your own thinking and change it. 

Each morning when you wake up, you have new baby nerve cells born inside your brain to use wisely as you remove bad thoughts and wire in new ones.

When it comes to the people around me - my spouse, my children, my siblings, my parents, my friends, my coworkers - will I focus only on what’s wrong with all these people or will I focus on what’s good and right and pure and praiseworthy? One choice will build relationships. The other choice will kill them. 

Something that is doing damage to nearly every relationship you’re in is......being right.

Being right or winning the argument in relationships can be totally wrong. Because a happy relationship has almost nothing to do with you being right. Because in the process of being right, you wind up isolating yourself and pushing the person you love away.

Winning an argument will never win you a relationship. But love wins every single time.

So how do I become a person who leans toward the positive in relationships? How do I stop just focusing on what’s wrong? Jesus had a great formula...

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  Matthew 7:1-2

Jesus isn’t saying here that you can’t ever notice when something’s wrong. He’s actually guiding us on how to approach people in a way that preserves relationships instead of tear them down. Jesus says - If you’ll just remember to apply the same standard to yourself that you apply to everybody else, you’ll be better off. 

And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.  Matthew 7:3-5

What if every time you started to point out something wrong in another person, you just said - You know, the first thing I need to do is judge myself in the same way. Is there something in me that needs changing? How would I want to be approached or spoken to?

Application this week...

Every time you see something that you feel needs changing in another person, pray this prayer first...

God, is there something you want to change in me? Is there something wrong in me that needs fixing? And is there something I can say or do to love this person the same way that You love me?