What is your usual response to someone who brings up your “stuff”? You know, that stuff you’d rather not talk about because it is embarrassing or painful or causes you to have to confront some issue in your life? And yes, I know it matters WHO is doing the bringing up and HOW.
But if we are honest we probably recognize the tendency to blame-shift by bringing up their stuff or change the subject to some intellectual debate in order to get off of the topic of us.
At the end of yesterday’s post I mentioned the passage in John 4 that tells about Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well. Notice a few of her responses as a result of her discomfort:
1. Jesus asks for something………she’s suspicious and defensive and brings up Jewish arrogance against her kind of people
2. Jesus offers something………she’s wondering how he thinks he’s better than their forefather Jacob
3. Jesus tells her to get her husband (she is living with someone not her husband)……..she tells a partial truth
4. Jesus tells the woman her own private story–5 husbands and the one you are with isn’t your husband (notice he doesn’t call her a liar but actually validates her half-truth)………she brings up a doctrinal debate between Jews and Samaritans.
5. Jesus avoids the debate and gives a bigger picture…….the woman THEN drops her defensiveness and gets her village-mates to come see Jesus
We’re probably a lot like this unnamed woman of ill-repute. We blame-shift, focus on possible problems of the other, tell half-truths when cornered and then finally resort to rabbit trail debates all so we can avoid facing certain things about ourselves.
The good thing is that God rarely lets up in his gentle but persistent pursuit.