Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You Are Not In Control

I, like most Americans, want control of their life. I like the potential of advancement through planning my education and harnessing experience. I want to grow into a higher paying jobs, or having more time for my family. I want to decide what is best for my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and myself.

Fact is, I control little. Many factors outside myself determine my obtainable choices.
A John the Baptist story illustrates the point.

First, John did right by telling Herod he was wrong. Herod had married his brother Phillips wife, Herodias, making them guilty of adultery. John told Herod he was wrong, envisioning change. John was courageous and right. He acted as God’s messenger.

Doing right is not optional. God expects all people to chose right actions. Men think they know what is right, but their plans end in death. God says if we do right we are righteous. Isaiah required rebellious Israel nation to do right. Jesus said our right actions must be better than the Pharisees. He said to do God’s righteousness first. Christians should never get tired of doing right. You will meet only right-doers in heaven.

So, regardless of the outcome, DO RIGHT!

Second, be aware of guilty parties nursing grudges. Herodias did not cherish John saying she was an adulteress. Mark says she “nursed a grudge.” The grudge grew into a desire to have John dead. John was not in control of her grudge wish.

People can only control themselves. Paul preached self-control to an uncontrolled Felix. Satan tempts people with no self-control. There is no law against self-control. Peter urged all Christians to add self-control to their virtues.

You cannot control others, or what they do. No one wants a grudge held against them, but you cannot stop them either. If they have suffered a relational injury and want to remember it (carry a grudge), you can’t stop them. You cannot stop people from carrying grudges, nor the paranoia that often follows. You cannot stop their “heightened sense of indignation.” You cannot stop them from going on a shooting spree.

Watch out for grudge possession.

Third, You cannot control the promises others make. Herodias’ daughter danced before Herod and his dinner guests (MARK 6:22). Herod was very impressed and wanted to dazzle his guests. He promised her anything she wanted, up to one-half of his kingdom. John had no control of Herod’s promise.

Other men's promises can be good, but you did not control them. The promises of other human beings can be bad, and you wish you were able to control them. Promises can result from deception, and you must deal with it. Promises can be rash and people will suffer, but you cannot control them. You cannot control the promises made by others.

Finally, you cannot stop mothers from manipulating their daughters. Herodias’ daughter had the promise of Herod, her stepfather (Mark 6:23). She came to her mother asking advice on what she should request (verse 24). But Herodias’ grudge against John the Baptist was stronger than her maternal instinct to serve the daughter's best interests. She urged her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist (verse 24). The daughter surrendered to her manipulative mother, and asked for his head on a platter (verse 25). Herod unwillingly complied (verses 26 & 27). John had no control over a mother manipulating her daughter. It cost John his head.

What can you do with a mother who manipulates though screaming, cursing and violence? Can you stop an out-of-control mother pressuring her daughter during the her (daughter’s) divorce. Who can stop a mother from using grandchildren to motivate the daughter. You cannot control a parent using manipulation, guilt, or self-pity to motivate their children. The repercussions of a mother’s manipulation ranges from a downswing to abhorrence. No one wins. Control is absolutely rare and enormously expensive. It cost John his head.

Since you cannot control others, it would be better to trust God to supply you with GRACE and FORGIVENESS for every situation. Paul could not control his “thorn in the flesh," but God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” If we forgive men when they hurt us, God can forgive us. Since you cannot control the harm against you, you must REPEATEDLY forgive. And we forgive to the same extent that God has forgiven the obedient believer.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how we want to control! That is why submission to God is a daily struggle for some of us.


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