It's Not About You

I don't remember when I first heard the phrase It's not about you, but I like it. A lot. I've yet to find a pastoral situation in which this phrase is not relevant. When someone comes to see me for the fiftieth time to talk about all the hurt caused by mean parents, after all the reflective listening and responsible counsel I can muster, I eventually have to lean forward in my chair and say, "You know, it was not about you. They were too hurt themselves. And you just happened to be in the way." "It's not about you" also fits at weddings. The bride and groom are standing in front of everyone, looking better than they are ever going to look again, getting so much attention and affirmation. Everybody even stands when they walk in. So it's easy to think this marriage, at least, is about them. It's not. Just look at the worn-out parents sitting in the first pew—they understand this. The only reason these parents are still married is because ...

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