“We are so convinced that how we think and feel about other people is caused by them, by what they have or haven’t done, by how inconsiderate they have been to us, or how judgmental and so on. … But this [isn’t] true. I see people the way I see them because of me.” (from The Outward Mindset by The Arbinger Institute)
I wish I could blame others (for everything except my successes — I want full credit for those). But anytime things don’t work out in my favor, it is never my fault. When I am stuck, I am stuck because I am powerless to make things different. My parents failed me, my spouse failed me, and maybe my closest friends and kids and coworkers and everyone around me let me down. That is why I am stuck and helpless to do anything but just sit and wish I was in a better spot in my life.
People live in this false reality all the time. Organizations — even “faith-based” ones — seem to be more influenced by hurt and misperception than the simple truth that when I look around my life and everyone else is the problem, I am the problem. I am not powerless to change that truth. In fact, I am the only one who can actually do anything about it. That is the good news.
The bad news is, I am the only one who can do anything about it. The double-edged sword of truth in my life is that how I choose to move through life is entirely dependent on my choice. Will I truly move through life with biblical, God-centered values and treat people in a way consistent with the Kingdom standards we are taught and modeled through the life of Jesus? Or will I let my brokenness drive how I react and respond to people and situations in life?
For many of us who call ourselves Jesus followers, we even begin to use the Bible as a weapon in these kinds of discussions. Traumatic damage can ensue.
I will offer some disjointed thoughts as I process this in my own life:
- Maybe it’s time for us “sword of truth” carriers to fall on our own swords and let them penetrate our own hearts instead of slashing others with them.
- Maybe my situation isn’t about the problems others — even bosses — create for me. Maybe its time to choose to enter into those situations correctly, regardless of the outcome.
- I am far more powerful to do things than my brokenness would have me believe.
- In order to realize that truth, I need people who refuse to allow me to settle for the lies sin tells me.
May you have the courage to act first. May you take back your personal ability to act and react correctly without concern for how anyone else deals with your situation. May you learn to see people as people, not as problems or objects. And may you let go of the lies the past tells you about the people around you.