Each week during Lent, Rev. Dr. Randall Partin is preaching on ways to mend broken relationships. After the worship service, he gives "homework" to the congregation, to dive further into the sermon topic and challenge themselves to heal relationships in their lives. This is the homework for "Realistic Expectations", his sermon that explored the problems that arise when we have unrealistic expectations of the people in our lives, or we have expectations that we do not communicate. Because the truth is, though we ourselves are not perfect, we often look for and expect perfection in others.
Let us pray:
God of each breath,
God of this next breath:
may this moment we’re in be a moment
now filled with reassurance and grace;
with kindness and patience
for ourselves and for others.
May it be marked by hope and compassion,
by learning and unlearning.
May it be a moment unencumbered by
mistakes we’ve made
or results we fear.
May it be a moment of peace and renewal;
a breath of new life.
-Prayer from Corrymeala prayers
"Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing."
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Who do you think Jesus was asking the Father to forgive?
In what ways might you be holding yourself or others to unrealistic and even impossible expectations?
Who are the people that you need to forgive?
How could trying to see others with God’s eyes affect your relationships with others?
When you find yourself frustrated or disappointed with another (or with yourself), ask if the root issue is unrealistic or unrealized expectations—have you assumed or expected too much of yourself or the other person?
Check in with yourself in prayer, regularly and with humility, acknowledging that you may not know what you’re doing. Ask God to help you understand yourself and the other person better. Ask God to help you see yourself and the other person through Christ’s eyes.
Be prepared to forgive, forgive, forgive (starting with yourself, but extending to others).
Adapted by St. John’s UMC from resources created by Rev. Roger R. Sonnenberg