The Night the Roof Fell In

The world lost a great actress a few days ago.

Mary Tyler Moore brought laughter to millions of people, especially in her role as Dick Van Dyke’s sweet-spirited wife, Laura. Initially relegated to simply kissing her husband hello at the door, she matured into a beloved comic in her own right, bringing the house down when she got her toe stuck in a faucet or destroyed a family heirloom in her garbage disposal.

I can still remember the night that I first saw my favorite episode, “The Night the Roof Fell In.” In addition to being downright hilarious, this episode vividly illustrates our common tendency to exaggerate our innocence and others’ guilt in the midst of conflict. I use the clip frequently for marriage retreats and to demonstrate why we all need to join St. Augustine in praying, “Lord, please deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”

It’s 25 minutes long, so you’ll need to set aside time to watch it. As you’ll see, however, it’s well worth the investment. (If a video screen does not appear below, click here.)

“Aren’t you exaggerating just a touch?” May God grant all of us friends who will speak such words to us when our desire for self-vindication overpowers our need to face and confess our own sin.

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  1. Name some people in the Bible who played a similar “blame game.” What was the result? (see, e.g., Gen. 3:8-13; 1 Sam. 15:10-15)
  2. In what situations are you most likely to blame someone else for a problem rather than admit your wrongs?
  3. What does Scripture say warn us about concealing our sins and promise us about confessing them? (Prov. 28:13; 1 John 1:8-9)
  4. Is there anyone in your life who will confront you when you’re exaggerating your innocence? Describe a time when that happened? How did that person’s action affect your relationship?
  5. How does this clip illustrate the concept of “amygdala hijacking“? What could Rob or Laura have done to avoid being hijacked?
  6. How did this clip illustrate the “Golden Result“? (i.e., that people will usually treat us the way we treat them)

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2017 Ken Sande

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