What if you downloaded an operating system to your new phone and it messed up your phone so bad you had to get another phone? So you get a second new phone and you load the same operating system as before to the new phone. Guess what? Surprise, it fries that phone too! Whoa, didn’t see that coming! So you have to shell out big bucks for third new phone, and you go ahead and load that very same operating system on that phone too. Can you believe it, it bricked that phone too!! By now you have reached a carefully considered conclusion- you have had the incredibly bad luck of getting THREE defective phones!!!
Okay, right about now you may be wondering where the stuff is about the relationship part that caused you to click on the link to read this blog.
Well, you’ve already read it. In the parable above, the operating system is a person’s thought patterns and worldview, and the phones are new relationships. The problem is not with the phone; it’s with the operating system, and until the operating system is addressed, the same breakdown issue will occur every time, no matter what kind of shiny new phone it is loaded onto.
You may know someone who moves from one significant other to another as each romance comes to a similar painful conclusion. And it’s the same story every time. “They did… he said… she wouldn’t…” but very seldom does the story go, “I didn’t do… my part of our trouble was…” What is obvious to onlookers and friends is the relationships are not the problem. The person’s “operating system” is the matter that needs to be addressed before any new relationship will have a chance to grow and thrive into something wonderful.
Computer software consistently needs to be scanned for infections and malware to keep from inflicting damage. Because computers have no pride or hard hearts, they can be easily examined. But with us human types, no so much. It’s easier to blame someone or something else than to become humble and submit to a “soul searching” with a counselor or trusted friend to discover and remove the bitterness, or automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) that have become ingrained in our thinking patterns, or whatever it is that’s wreaking havoc on our lives.
Yeah, it’s scary (and hard work) to open up to a heart and mind examination, but not as scary as a life filled with scars and sorrow. No one ever enters a relationship wanting it to fail. So, if it’s us, do what you can do. Work on you. If it’s a dear friend, have the guts to come alongside in caring confrontation to encourage them to get help. They may reject you. That’s okay, it’s always right to do the right thing. That may be the greatest gift you ever give to your friend.
Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.