The Problem With Being Bewildered

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

On February 23, 1999, we sent out an article entitled, “Tech Support Request” — a humorous article, to be sure, depicting the plight of a man who wrote “Tech Support” about his problem with his wife. His wife, to him, was no more than a “software program” to be run, a “utility” to be taken advantage of. The story is great, I find, because it depicts a man who cannot see himself for who he really is: a human being who needs to love people, and treat them as decent human beings. People (wives, in this case) are not “things to be taken advantage of,” but, rather, they are people who need to be respected, and treated with dignity.

Why did this article strike a note with so many of our readers, both men and women alike, who sent in their comments to express appreciation? Was it not because we often think like this man does? We have all “done it.” We have “thrown the book” at our wives, or our husbands, and we have done it over and over again. Our misguided attitude has been, “If only my husband could do such and such better, then … everything would be all right, my problems would be solved.” Or, “If only my wife could do better at such and such, then … everything would be all right, yes, indeed, my problems would be solved!”

Our focus, then, tends to be one of projecting our problems onto others, i.e. refusing to take personal responsibility for our own actions and problems. We are self-deceptively ignorant that the problem all too often lies within ourselves and our sinful nature. As we do so, we enter into deception by thinking that the “other person” is the “real” problem. Our focus gets shifted away from personal repentance for wrongdoing. A veritable “war” begins between us — which may be any combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual war. In the case of the man “Bewildered” who wrote “Tech Support” asking for help, he was simply deceived into thinking that the real source of his problem was with his wife, whom he viewed as a “utitility” program to be “used.”

“Tech Support” was right in the “best of ways” when he counselled “Bewildered” by saying, “You must assume all responsibility for faults and problems that might occur. The best course of action will be to push apologize button then reset button as soon as lock-up occurs. System will run smooth as long as you take the blame for all GPFs [i.e. General Protection Faults].” Ha! What a laugh (I laughed through the whole thing and it was a type of “catharsis” for me — I needed that!). But there is wisdom in what he wrote, for our wives are often right. They “detect” the folly in us (males), and we need to learn to quickly humble ourselves by saying, “You’re right. I am sorry. I will do better next time.”

What then was the message? In a word or two, we are to humble ourselves by developing a new view of who others are, as well as a new view of who we are. “We” are not the “users of utilities”, or the “consumers of goods”, as the world, our flesh, and our arch-enemy, Satan, would have us believe. Rather, we are the servants of God, and we are to BE the servants of God in all respects (a high calling, to be sure, but let us not forget to laugh when it is appropriate!). By the same token, “they” are not “things” or “utitilities” to be taken advantage of — again, as the world, our flesh, and our arch-enemy, Satan, would have us believe. Rather, “they” are the beautiful and elegant creations of God (whether “they” be men or women), who are to respected and loved, and appreciated, in the deepest of ways.

But when will we learn? In my own case, I can only say that many times the Lord has had to show me my folly in judging others and casting the blame in their direction, as His righteous jugdment has fallen down upon me, and I have had to repent by then praying for the other person, and thanking God for them, as to exactly how much of a blessing they really are to me and my household. And then, I thank God from a pure heart, as his judgment turns to grace, and hardness of heart turns to love once again and then I can say, “It is good to be on this earth, safe in the arms of my beloved Savior”.