Matthew 7:1
Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log
in your own? (v.3).

A person recently lamented to me, “I don’t get
it. Why do all my relationships keep breaking
down? I want to get along better with my family
and have closer friendships, but I find myself in nearly
impossible circumstances over and over again.”

This person sounded so helpless. The pull to console
him was strong, but it’s not what he needed at that
moment. You see, this person didn’t realize—until I
suggested it—that he was playing the martyr. He was
oblivious to having slipped into a “Woe is me” mindset.
For his own good, he needed a dose of truth spoken in
love (Ephesians 4:15).

We’ve all been there. We see ourselves as the only
one who is hurt and struggling in a relationship (or at
least our pain is what matters the most). Yet the truth
is that we’re adding to the problem more than we
know. It’s a mindset that only breeds more feelings of
helplessness—and it needs to be challenged and called

If we find ourselves camped in “Martyrville,” we’re not
really as stuck as we think. There’s another mindset to
adopt that can start to counter our helpless feelings.
Jesus taught us to be concerned first and foremost with
our “I” problem before we address our friend’s problem.
He said, “First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough
to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

It’s a matter of perspective that might not immediately change our
circumstances, but it can get us unstuck from a helpless way of thinking. It can
provide the groundwork for us to move forward in our relationships with others.
Feeling helpless? Don’t play the martyr. Prayerfully consider your own words
and actions as you seek healthy relationships.

—Jeff Olson

Consider what is required of those who say they
love God (1 John 4:19).

How have you been playing the martyr in a relationship? Why is it
vital to realize that your pain is not the most
important pain in the universe?