Your Side of the StreetEver look across the street and compare your neighbor’s lawn or house to yours?

No doubt you have—we all have. We look to find flaws in other people’s marriages, children, careers, and bodies. Even worse, we blame others for our addictions, broken relationships, failures, and . . . the list goes on and on.

Sound familiar?

Christ talked about the dangers of concentrating on other people’s faults when He said, “Hypocrite! 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 7:5).

If all you ever look at is the other side of the street, you’ll never do the work that needs to be done on your side of the street.

How can you take responsibility for your life? There are three things you can do.

Discover Your Defects — Life Recovery Step 6 states, “We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.”

Here’s an exercise to try. List some of your positive character traits. Some examples of positive character traits are:

  • Joyful
  • Dependable
Then, list some negative qualities you have. Here are some examples of negative character traits:
With the help of a licensed counselor, mentor, or trusted friend, go over the list. Ask them to share insight with you about these traits they may see in you. Finally, write some goals or steps you can take as you ask God to remove your defects.

Do What You Can to Make Amends — Life Recovery Step 8 states, “We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

First, ask God to forgive you. Write a list of the people you’ve hurt—directly or indirectly. Christ has already paid the price for your sins. Agree with God that what you did was wrong, and ask Him to forgive you. When you do this, God has promised to remove your sins. Psalm 103:12 says, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Second, ask the people you’ve hurt to forgive you. Go and ask for forgiveness and make amends to all whom you have hurt, except where that might harm the person. Talk over the lists with your sponsor or a trusted friend, or counselor. Get guidance and discernment from your sponsor, for those you need to ask for forgiveness.

Develop Healthy Relationships — You’ll never take full responsibility for your life by just sitting at home by yourself—you need to form healthy relationships. Where can you find healthy people? Your community or church, a Life Recovery Group, or a book club. From there, begin to look for 3 to 5 safe people to let into your inner circle. It will take time, but it will make all the difference in your life.

Find people who . . .

  • Tell you the truth
  • Share similar values as yours
  • Listen to you as you share your pain
  • Keep you accountable
  • Encourage you to grow
When you discover your defects, do what you can to make amends and develop healthy relationships, you are on your way to becoming the person God wants you to be.

Get your eyes off of the other side of the street—focus on your side of the street, and it will transform your whole life!

For more on this, get a copy of Take Your Life Back, by Stephen Arterburn and Dr. David Stoop. To get help, call 1-800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433).