Lent Day 7 –
For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1st John 3:11
Some things are just out of your control.
We don’t like that, but when we can accept it, life becomes a lot less stressful. Especially when we realize that we can’t control other people.
People are like cats – unpredictable and uncontrollable. But that doesn’t stop us from trying, does it? We want to control what they do, how they think, and how they treat us.
You may have someone in your life who simply won’t play the way you want them to. If you could be the puppet master and pull their strings you know you could make them do right. But you’re not the puppet master – and the truth is even God doesn’t overrule their will. In the end you’re stuck with who they are and the choices they make. Like it or not – you are not in control of them.
So, how do we deal with the rub – that friction that comes from others who aren’t what we want them to be?
First, we surrender them to God. You know, it may help to remember that people aren’t the problem – as Paul said in Ephesians 6:12 – Our battle is not against flesh and blood. If there is a person who seems to be the enemy – they are being used by your true enemy – the enemy of your soul. They are a pawn in the overarching spiritual warfare that is taking place all around us. So, don’t spend your energy fighting them. The weapons you need to win that battle are spiritual not physical.
Next, be sure that your life is what it is supposed to be. We sometimes get so focused on the “problem of others” that we forget the “problem of me.” You’ve got enough issues to deal with – you don’t need to take up someone else’s until yours are dealt with.
The last step is to give God time and space to work in their life. What they need is God’s grace transforming them, not your advice nagging them. Let God do His thing. Pray for them, encourage them – but get out of God’s way.
If we spend our time worrying over what we can’t control, we’ll never have time to do what we can control.
Give up the control of others – it is only an illusion anyway. Surrender them to God and His grace. Grace is where the real power is – not the power of control, but the power of transformation.
Instead of control, practice the ministry of support. Encourage, pray, and help in any way possible – but not for the purpose of control. Be sure your attitude and motive is truly focused on their best – not your comfort.
Our prayer for today –
Lord, other people are out of my control. I can’t fix them, control them, or even direct them. I give them to you and your grace. Do what only you can do and teach me to wait, trust, and believe in your transforming power. Show me my part in this work and help me to keep my hands off your part.
Dr. Chris Lohrstorfer