There is a word that is vicious and rejecting. It is uncompromising and selfish. Usually, it is unrecognizable, but always present. It pollutes our thinking, attitude, and relationships. It is prejudicial. It easily can be mean-spirited. Whatever is good in your life will sink right before your eyes without you even knowing it because of this word.
This word is embedded in our thinking and therefore reveals itself in our attitude. It allows no room for negotiations. It is a means to brand other people and even how we think of ourselves. “She should be what I want. I should be a certain way to please myself or other people.”
It is often implied but not said. It sets standards that are unreasonable. It is a challenge to all involved. This word does not want to go away because it is also a measurement of our own contentment or well-being.
The word that I bring before you is SHOULD. Should rejects reality. Whether it is in our minds or our words, it says, “I want you to be the person I want you to be.” It says, “I should have done it a different way.”
It will take a great deal of effort to rid that word from our lives.
Often when I have counseled people a hidden agenda causing the discord is that they cannot see beyond what they want about that other person. In fact, the first person may be in love with the fantasy they have created in their thinking and not really love the person as she or he actually is. It can be devastating to discover that the other person is not what you thought he or she was. Divorces can follow this discovery simply because we impose should onto the other person.
God does not love us because we fulfill an artificial should for him. God loves us exactly as we are with all our blemishes and sin. He is fully aware of what kind of a person we truly are. He knows that there is no way possible we can be what we should be. That is why he sent his Son to take our place and assume all our flaws and shortcomings to the Heavenly Father.
It is God that transforms us and makes us acceptable before him. It is not our plea as we stand before his throne that we would say we did and were what we should have been. Instead, our confession is we were aware of our own imperfections and the impossibility to become what we should.
What would happen if we began accepting other people as they are? What would happen if we had no preconceived notions about them? How our marriages would be improved if we allowed that person to be just the way they are, as God does?
We would reduce stress on ourselves and disappointment against the other person if we did not “should” that person. Think about the last disagreement you had with someone close to you. Was it not because that person should think like you, believe like you, except your decisions without question, and comply with all your expectations?
Should is like a projector directing a light onto the screen with a certain image. What is on that screen is not real. How we respond to that screen is because we are invested in what is not real.
Turn your projector off. Shred the film. Look at that other person and get to know them for the first time as they really are. Then with God’s help you can accept that person in a new and better way. You would be building a bridge without prejudice to a real person.