Hello and happy March 4th to everyone who is listening in real-time today, March 4th, 2020. If you haven’t yet decided where you want to march forth today on March 4th, I have a suggestion for you at the end of the show.

But before we get into today’s topic, the greatest obstacle to our relationships, a listener from South Carolina asked if I would explain what he called “my strong reaction to the relationship quote” from last week’s show, episode 53. You may recall the quote came from Princess Diana, who said, “I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head.”

[ I read SC listener response, and then my reply]

  • 2nd person who brought this up
  • I was thinking more about her relationship to leadership principles than interpersonal relationships
  • Another of her quotes, “Only do what your heart tells you.”
  • At the end of today’s show I have a relationship quote from another famous Brit that I wholeheartedly endorse, so stay tuned for that

So much for last week’s show, it’s time to move on to today’s episode 54, where we will examine the greatest obstacle to experiencing the kind of relationships we were made for. Because once properly identified, we can then deal more effectively with this relational roadblock in order to experience the joy God wants for us in our relationships


The apostle Paul tackles this subject in the 12th chapter of the Book of Romans in the Bible. In verse 2 he writes, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” That’s how the New Living Translation of the Bible translates it.

Other versions read

  • “Do not be conformed to this world”
  • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world” or
  • “Do not conform to this age”

Regardless of the version you go with, and they’re all quite similar, and it raises the question

Exactly what are the behavior and customs, or pattern of this world in the age in which we live?

The answer to this question in my mind reveals the greatest obstacle to experiencing the life-giving relationships we were all made for.

Listen in and let’s discover together exactly what this formidable foe is to our relationships.

I start with the premise that because the Bible was written for all people, for all cultures, for all time periods of history, we have to consider what Paul is talking about that is universal to the human condition.

What’s the” behavior, pattern and customs of this world” that is true now, and was true in Paul’s day in the 1st century. And which is true in all cultures, and true of all mankind, at all stages of history.

I’ve got a story that I think will shed some light on this.

[Listening talk I gave at a church awhile back]

  • At the break, a man with a USA today newspaper and an article he read on the plane
  • Read “One Question, Why Aren’t You Asking Me Any”
  • Questions I asked the audience:
  1. When was the last time someone asked you a question that went beyond how are you?, and that was about YOU and nothing to do with the questioner and information he or she wanted? What were you asked, and how did you react inside?
  2. Why do we ask so few questions of each other?
  3. Think of the conversations you typically have with friends in relaxed social settings. What would you guess is the percentage of time spent in those conversations that involve people asking questions of each other?

I would have to go along with the columnist for USA Today, and cast my vote for “ME-ism” as the behavior and custom of the world both today and the 1st century. Self-centeredness is the biggest obstacle to healthy relationships. It affects all of us.

You see it in 3 broad areas of the human experience;

  • How poorly we listen to each other. Thread that ran through MC2 conference
  • Pride – the source of all conflict, per Fighting for Peace by Dennis D. Morgan
  • Lack of curiosity about other people and our relationship to the world,

While “ME-ism,” our self-centeredness is a significant obstacle to our relationships, it can be overcome. We’ll talk about how to do this in next week’s episode, #55.

But for now, If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode. Our show in a sentence

We are far more self-centered than we realize. The more aware we become of this enemy to our relationships, and the more we take steps to battle it within us, the greater fulfillment we will find in our relationships.

Here’s what you can do in response to today’s show.
Ask yourself, “to what extent does ‘Me-ism’ permeate my life?” Because of the fall, it’s afflicts us all. It’s baked into the pattern and customs of all people – from all cultures since the beginning of time.

And where do you see your self-centeredness rearing it’s ugly head in YOUR life? Where do you see it how you listen to people? In your pride? In the level of curiosity you have about people?

And let’s march forth, starting today, March 4th, in our relationships – free of our self-centeredness.

As always, feel free to let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to john@caringforothers.org.


I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your various relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

Now for Our Relationship Quote of the Week

Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race. ~ William E. Gladstone

(Gladstone served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms, beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894)

That’s all for today. See you next week. Bye for now.