It happens again. That problem with yourself or someone else that you thought had been talked though, worked out, or settled.
Your child seems to have the same issues day after day. You have to stop—again—to deal with what seems to be the same situation.
You thought you had forgiven, yet the hurt feelings rise up again.
You thought you had deserted that sin, yet you find yourself being tempted again.
Here it is again, needing more time, energy, caring, and understanding.
I’m sure you’ve been there. I know I have. And I’ve wondered, when will this ever be done?
Then I remembered the onion analogy.
I’m sure you’ve heard about it. It’s often used when discussing getting to the root of a personal issue or problem. We deal with it one layer at a time. When the Lord sees we are ready to work on more, He points us to another layer that we need to deal with.
This often applies to long-term relationships, like a spouse, children, and extended family members. There are differences, hurts, or character issues that need to be dealt with layer by layer.
In some ways it can be likened to a butterfly coming out of his chrysalis. We collect a few Monarch butterfly caterpillars each spring and feed them milkweed until they form their chrysalis. Then we watch and wait for them to turn into butterflies.
One thing we learned early on is that we can’t help them out of the chrysalis. They will die, unless they struggle to get free. It’s the struggle that strengthens their wings so they can fly.
While we can’t always just stand by and watch someone struggle through a sin, or character issue, we know that we can’t do it for them, either.
Think of how difficult it is to change yourself. Now look at that in light of trying to change someone else.
What can you do?
Proverbs 17:17, KJV—“A friend loveth at all times…”
- If you are part of the problem, set aside time to pray and talk with them. Go to the person, clear up any part you’ve had in the problem. If you need to ask for forgiveness, ask them.
- Let them know that you are praying and will continue to pray for them.
- Share appropriate Scriptures with them.
- Share any personal trials or times when you’ve struggled that may encourage them, and how the Lord met your needs.
Don’t try to fix them yourself. Remember the butterfly.
Is there a layer you are dealing with or need to be dealing with? Leave me a comment. You can just tell me you need prayer and I will commit to pray for you. You don’t need to share your problem.
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Phyllis is an ordinary woman serving an extraordinary God. She has been the joyful wife of her best friend Daniel for 31 years and became a stay-at-home mom 30 years ago after retiring from a management position. She homeschooled their three children, Emily (28), Rebekah (26), and Eric (24), for the past 20+ years and they are now continuing their education and working. She wrote a column on mothers and daughters for five years and has published several books. Her favorite is Purposeful Planning. Visit her on her site at Write the Vision.