For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23 (HCSB)

Many devotional writings, including ones on this blog, talk about how we can lean on God to help us persevere among difficult people in our lives. But not many writings talk about the other side of the coin: What are we contributing–or not contributing–that may be adding to the difficulties we face in our lives?

The difficult people we face act in ways that reflect their level of brokenness. But how we act and respond likewise reflects our brokenness and obedience to God. In any relationship, whether business or personal, with an elder or junior, it’s the dynamic of two or more people, each contributing to the dynamic. And sure, sometimes there’s one who contributes most or all the toxicity…but who’s on the other end, allowing it to happen by not speaking or enforcing boundaries? Who might be shorter of patience or less than loving and kind than they should be in response to such toxicity?

I can raise my hand to that. But the encouraging part of it all is that God forgives us every time as we come to Him and tell Him we flubbed it yet again when we weren’t the picture of His grace. And with Jesus as our model, and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we can continue our ever-improving journey, step by step and day by day, toward more brightly becoming a reflection of Him in Christlikeness.