What We Project
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."1
It's amazing how many people actually blame God, the devil or anyone else for their own irresponsible behavior. I have a talk I used to give that I titled, "The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It—I Can Mess Things Up All by Myself." And I can. Sure we are all tempted from time to time but each of us is responsible for the choice we make either to resist temptation or to give in to it.
A former supporter of our work, a man in his mid-thirties complained to me about the opposite sex because of his repeated experiences in failed relationships and tried, without success, to get me to agree with him in his self-justification. No chance. A distressed young woman bemoans the fact that she and her boyfriend fell pregnant and wondered why God allowed it to happen. Amazing? Another man I know is convinced that there's something wrong with most of the men he has had dealings with because none of them like him.
And here's a classic from a woman in a support group I was leading some time ago. "I can't understand why God gave me such a terrible husband," she bitterly moaned in a whiney poor-me tone of voice.
"Who chose your husband?" I asked.
"God did!" she said and was dead serious. Her avoidance of personal responsibility and denial of reality was painfully pathetic. There was no way I could even begin to get her to face reality, let alone get her to take a good hard look to see the truth about herself. Without access to the truth there is no resolution, no recovery, and no freedom.
"When dealing with people [like this]," Jim Rohn says, "I generally take the obvious approach. When someone says, 'This always happens to me and that always happens to me. Why do these things always happen to me?' I simply say, 'Beats me. I don't know. All I know is that those kinds of things seem to happen to people like you.'"
That might sound tough but it's true. The fact is that what we project is what we get back and what we allow we reinforce. We either face reality and admit exactly what our part is in all of these situations and get into a recovery program, or we continue to repeat our past negative patterns. As the saying goes, "If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll keep getting what we've always got, and we'll keep feeling what we've always felt." It's either resolution or repetition.
The only people God or anyone can help are those who say, "I have a problem. I need help." And as long as you and I allow people in our life to get away with boundary-busting, irresponsible behavior, we become a part of their sickness.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whenever I'm in a jam or caught in a conflict or a problem, please give me the courage to face reality and see the truth of what I am contributing to the situation. And then give me the good sense to do something about it and resolve my part in it. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John 8:31-32 (NIV).