Ever been in a relationship with someone where you felt if a new model came along, they’d trade you in for a new one? I often hear from married couples how one partner or the other thinks and feels their spouse doesn’t have their backs. If they haven’t accomplished the task of leaving their father and mother and cleaving unto each other, I’ll especially hear that.
This whole thought about obligation to someone verses being obligated by someone is central to the My Gain–Your Pain game. The person playing this game makes sure the rule of obligating others to them instead of being obligated to others stays in tack to get the win. They must be the “main man.”
Whatever this game player does is reckless. They’ll do dangerous things even if they know others could be hurt. They know how not to do things and pull on people who will do what they won’t do.
Here’s how children play the game with their parents. “Dad, is it alright if I stay overnight with my best friend?” Dad says “No.” Then the child starts acting like they’ve been victimized by the parent. Come to find out, that overnight deal was already established by the child and best friend as a sure thing, but dad got in the way of their goal. The result! The parent gets the pain. If permission isn’t granted the kid is out of there with an egotistical bitterness that says if I can’t go, then you can’t be happy either. Pretty exciting stuff huh?
Jesus never played that game. When it came to being responsible whether it was unexciting and unsatisfying, he was into relationship for the long haul. Out of love, he actually obligated himself to us. It was his pain-our gain; a risk on his part, because he couldn’t guarantee he’d be loved back. No one controlled or victimized him. He was in control of his choice.
In minding the gap for a My Gain-Your Pain game, what thoughts would you share about obligating ourselves to people instead of obligating them to us?