First, Check Yourself

by | Oct 19, 2017 | Devotional | 2 comments

Today’s article is another installment in Brother P.’s column, “Lessons From the Nursing Home.”

Prior to working in a nursing home, I had to go to school to learn how to work with physical therapy patients. In one particular class, we were taught how to provide manual resistance to the patient’s muscles (kind of like using weights, but I am the weight).

Often, the patient would push the wrong way, and we had to figure out how to correct it. With a tremendous variety of patient presentations — dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s, you name it — the task seemed daunting.

I remember the instructor saying, “First, check yourself.”

We, the students, would invariably reply that the patient was pushing the wrong way, the patient couldn’t understand directions, the patient’s condition was problematic, etc. We were constantly blaming the patient, but the instructor would provide the same guidance again and again, “First, check yourself.”

“First, check yourself.”

“First, check yourself.”

Depending on the stubbornness of the student, this same scenario could be repeated over and over, with the instructor’s directive remaining the same, “First, check yourself.” Sometimes students would simply quit, blaming the patient and the patient’s particular situation.

Finally, it became readily apparent to me that, when I checked myself, all I needed to do was apply the correct amount of force with the correct hand placement in the correct direction, and the patient would almost always automatically perform the correct exercise, often without even verbal cues or directions! If I changed what I was doing first, then the patient would unconsciously respond in the exact right way.

I wonder what would happen if I applied this to the rest of my life:

If I am having trouble at work or school, if I am having troubled relationships, if I am not as close to Jesus as I should be, if I feel that I don’t know the Word, if I am struggling with my parenting (see No. 55 in your “Songs of Zion” for a much more complete list) … prior to blaming my coworkers or classmates, blaming my relatives or friends, blaming the Lord, blaming the continual crazy, busy-ness of life, maybe I should check myself first.

Bio Emil

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.


  • Brother P.

    Brother P. lives in the mountains with his wife and two boys who he's tremendously thankful for.


  1. Brother Gary Thompson

    Nice article Brother.

  2. Brother Harold Dickson

    Great article brother checking myself now.


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