I was listening to a wife complain about her husband’s lack of attention toward her with him sitting right there in front of us. It was a bit awkward, but not nearly as awkward as the next emotionally charged sentence she blurted out, which went something like this: “Why can’t you be more like Steve in this area?” Her husband’s response was to then give me this forlorn look, while his eyes searched for the correct answer from his memory bank. He sheepishly spoke, “Yea, she often says to me, ‘what would Steve do in this situation?”’ I was floored, embarrassed and wanted to be anywhere but there. While I know it was in some weird way a compliment, it felt so… I don’t know…comparing, negative and unhealthy? I sat there speechless at first, feeling his pain. He was being compared with someone who he is not, is never going to be and is not created to be.
Finally gathering myself, I turned and looked at her and spoke forthrightly. I began, “Your husband is not me and should never be expected to be me. While we each have traits that reveal Jesus in us, it is Him that we are to emulate. Your husband will not change by you comparing him to another man, in fact, it only serves to humiliate him and that is not a godly trait. Please do not use my name in that way as I am a very imperfect man and I will fail you.”
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives. (Proverbs 27: 21)