I recently heard a sermon in which the pastor said something like, “Conflicts occur because two imperfect people are expecting perfection from each other, and when imperfect people don’t get the perfection from each other that they expect, they become angry, hurt, and resentful.” In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the multitudes not to judge one another harshly. He told them to take a look at their own flaws before pointing fingers at someone else’s. “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5) Of course we all know that nobody is perfect. In our minds, we know this. So, why are we so hard on the people we’re supposed to love? Why do we have more grace for strangers than we do for those closest to us? Why do we major on what’s wrong about a person, and ignore all that is right? For years, people go round and round in circles pointing out to each other all the things that are wrong. Or, they’ll silently build a wall full of wrongs all by themselves, without ever saying a word. They convince themselves that the other person is so wrong, that they’ve become blind to all that is right. What a tragic circumstance! By focusing entirely on the dust that naturally settles on human flesh, they miss the beauty that shines like gold underneath. Relationships are ruined by such hypocrisy. Brother hates brother. Mother hates daughter. Son hates parents. And everybody loses. Left to our own devices, human beings can really jack up our lives. None of us is perfect. Not one. This is why it’s important to develop a connection with the Creator above. Jesus said, “There is none good but one, that is, God.” So, when we find ourselves in conflict with another, we must first recognize our own contribution to the confusion. Remove the plank from our own eyes. See the dirt on our own shoulders. Then, and only then, can we expect to find resolution, forgiveness, even love.