I recently angered someone by a comment I made. I’m sure you’ve done it too. I certainly wouldn’t compare the experience to a pleasant summer day. More like a gray, ominous thunderhead consuming the skyline!
Ironically, my goal was to help foster a closer relationship by finally dealing with a few issues that had been simmering under the surface for years. Seemed like a reasonable idea to me. My 20-20 hindsight now tells me that in this situation my hope was nothing more than a wisp of wishful thinking.
These types of conflicts simply add more bricks to the walls that separate us from each other, but the stones that form the wall’s foundations are usually identity related, especially when cemented together by insecurity.
“And beyond all of these things put on insecurity, which is the perfect bond of disunity!” Colossians 3:14 (SCV)
Why is it that so often we equate disapproval with rejection? Insecurity! Through the eyes of insecurity we view any type of disapproval as a complete rejection of our personhood. “If you don’t like something I’m doing, then it’s obvious that you don’t like me or want to be with me.”
Can you imagine what the world of professional sports would look like if all athletes carried this mindset? There would be no one on the team–all of our beautiful tax payer funded stadiums would lie empty! A key factor in a player making a team is teachability. If they are willing to be corrected, they are willing to improve their game. Of course, if the game is already perfect, there can be no room for improvement.
As grown-ups can we not embrace the fact that disapproval should not be equated with rejection? I can accept you as a friend (just like I hope you would accept me) even if I disapprove of particular aspects of your behavior.
When we view ourselves through the gray lens of insecurity we simply cannot accept the specific realities of our imperfection. Oh, we might occasionally utter a general, “I’m so imperfect” sigh, but when a coach (or a leader or a friend or a family member, etc.) tries to correct something specific, it quickly becomes a threat to our fragile existence.
Small-minded, self-centered thinking keeps us from realizing that true love is bigger than our imperfections. If I can only love those who meet my standards, then I incorrectly assume that no one will love me if I don’t meet all of their standards. News flash! The kingdom of God does not operate by the same principles that drive the world around us!
Having wrestled with insecurity for much of my life, I now consider it to be a self-centered, evil force that can have no welcome place in the heart of a Christian. Insecurity, when befriended, distorts all rational and objective thought, making healthy relationships virtually impossible.
Thankfully, insecurity is not an unchangeable personality trait! The process may take time, but as we surrender our insecurities to God, He is able to build within us an unshakeable foundation for strong and healthy relationships.
 SCV – Self-Centered Version