In reviewing the past year, there is one more subject I wanted to discuss before returning to the topic of gut microflora. As I have said a number of times, there is nothing more strongly related to our personal and societal wellness than relationships.people 1

While 2014 carried a number of trials both big and small, I learned the most from several relational struggles which I was either a participant in or for which I was involved in the peacemaking process. In this brief post, I will only emphasize one critical part of relational health and perhaps do a more thorough series in the future. In His “sermon on the mount”, Jesus implores us not to judge and strengthens His point with a striking extended metaphor. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” It’s so hard to see the log in our own eye especially when immersed in bitter conflict. We are often filled with anger which leads to judgement and condemnation. Our friend turned enemy’s fault is magnified while our own sin is minimized or invisible. For this reason, relationships often either end in hatred or hang on in bitter antagonism. I have seen numerous marriages end in the midst of this dynamic and thankfully have seen many saved when one or both accusers, usually via counseling, are able to see their own contribution to the problem. Even knowing this, I often struggle to see my own sin when involved in conflict. It requires a serious commitment to self examination, scripture meditation and prayer to pull ourselves off the judge’s seat and realize that we’re all in need of grace and mercy! Will you join me in 2015 in a quest to root out self righteous pride and “in humility count others more significant than ourselves“? If so, your precious relationships will be preserved and your heart will be well!