Show Me the Money!

There’s a saying I use in counseling: “Show me the money.” It’s simple: tell me who benefits from an action or choice, and I can tell you who’s manipulating a situation, especially in an imbalanced relationship where one person uses power and control for himself.

Who benefits when your husband gets angry? He does. Why? Because everyone does what he wants.

Who benefits when your husband leaves the house? He does. Why? Because he escapes the chaos, leaves you feeling guilty. When he returns, everyone does what he wants.

Who benefits when your husband uses your social security number to take out loans and credit cards without your knowledge? He does.

Who benefits when your husband threatens to (fill in the blank)? He does.

It’s easy to see. If you’re in a relationship that feels wrong, ask who benefits from specific words and behaviors. If you’re talking with a woman who is unhappy or doesn’t understand the dynamics of her relationship, say, “Show me the money” as she describes their interactions. Then, simply follow the trail of who receives payback and who pays the price.

With Jesus, it’s a different ball game. He uses his power and influence for the benefit of others. That’s who He is. And we, the Church, can and should discern Christlikeness based on that same criteria: “Show me the money.”

Does a spring send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, bear olives, or a vine bear figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, free of hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:11-18)

2 thoughts on “Show Me the Money!

  1. I very much appreciate the main point plus the contrast with who Jesus is – that’s where clarity comes from.
    I’m linking these thoughts to the number one commonality in all forms of abuse: the refusal to take responsibility for one’s attitudes and actions. You might say taking responsibility and any possible attending consequences is the opposite of going for the benefits? One is laying down your life …… and the other is forcing others to lay down *their* lives.
    Still mulling over this. Thank you, Sydney


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