I am sending this out to anyone who might be struggling with watching someone you care about make choices that you believe are harmful or destructive for him or her. I hope this will provide you with some comfort and/or encouragement.  It is taken from a book titled Through God’s Eyes by Phil Bolsta.

“Peace comes when you understand that you can be caring and supportive while respecting that your loved ones have their own path to walk, their own lessons to learn, and their agendas, values, and priorities that may diverge widely from your own. … Detachment is not apathy or indifference. It is the prerequisite for effective involvement. Often what we think is best for others is distorted by our attachment to our opinions; we want others to be happy in the way we think they should be happy. It is only when we want nothing for ourselves that we are able to see clearly into others’ needs and understand how to serve them.”

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Over the last couple days I have been reminded of how difficult it is to embrace our powerlessness, i.e. we have no control over other people’s choices and actions. We only have control over our own choices and actions, including how we choose to react to the choices and actions of others, especially when we don’t agree with or approve of them.

This reminder came as a result of participating in a dialogue on Facebook about what can be done to decrease or eliminate gun violence in the U.S. It seemed that everyone who took part in the discussion agreed that it is not a gun problem, it is a heart problem and that gun violence would not decrease until hearts changed. The disagreements began when the discussion shifted to how hearts can be changed.

My position on this is that legislation will not change hearts. Prohibition did not stop people from drinking or making alcohol. Civil rights legislation did not end racism. Illegal abortion did not stop women from getting abortions or doctors from performing them.

This DOESN’T mean though, that there is nothing we can do to decrease or end gun violence or any kind of senseless violence for that matter. Those of us who are Christ followers have a very powerful option, we can LIVE the gospel. I said LIVE the gospel not preach the gospel, i.e. walk the walk not talk the talk. Hopefully others will see what we have and want it and hearts will begin to change.

Embracing our powerlessness, our inability to control others, may sound very frightening or horrific. In actuality though, it is very healing and very freeing. It is Step 1 of the 12 Steps, by which I live my life.

Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable – is an invitation to face reality and admit that our life isn’t working. We stop pretending that it IS working, we admit our powerlessness and we stop trying to manage our life OUR way. A very common addiction and compulsion is trying to fix, help or control others.

The idea of taking this first step can be overwhelming until we stop looking at our lives through the lens of DENIAL and start seeing it through the lens of reality.

We may have been taught to believe that we only have to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior for our lives to be complete and satisfying. Our proclamation that “I am a born again Christian; my past is washed clean; I am a new creature; Christ has totally changed me” is true. Our Spirits are born again. Our flesh, however, is holding on to a lifetime of hurts, habits and hang-ups. We need more than salvation. We need transformation. We need change. To over-spiritualize the initial work of salvation may be to deny the actual condition of our lives.