You know, when you drop an egg on the kitchen floor, it always breaks? And if you ignore that stupid little gas-pump-shaped light on your dashboard, the car will eventually run out of gas? 100% of the time. And, almost without fail, if you walk up to a really big dude and call him a “pansy”, you are going to get punched in the face. Really hard.
You can’t blame the egg for breaking, since it has a paper thin shell that isn’t designed to be dropped. It doesn’t make much sense to yell at your car when it sputters to a stall because you forgot to stop and put gas in it. And I don’t need to explain the whole “big pansy” cause-and-effect, do I?
So why is it that I keep hearing men whining about marriages, jobs and mortgages, but simultaneously verbalizing exactly zero responsibility? I hear a bunch of hapless and helpless victims. If we are who we say we are, it’s time to stop playing the victim and it’s time to start seeing how we may have contributed to our own disaster.
How about a little rundown of some real-life examples?
“None of my friends like me, so I just avoid hanging with the jerks”— Really? If every one of them doesn’t like you, and you are always one half of the equation, then maybe it’s time to take a good look at the common denominator in all of those relationships. When we keep getting bad reviews, we need to look in the mirror. It ain’t them. It’s us.
“I keep praying for God to change my wife”— Come on, man. Have you ever taken a hard look at 1 Peter 3:7? God isn’t interested in our prayers to change the other person. His desire is the change US into the image of His Son.
“I keep praying for provision, but God isn’t listening”— Since when did we become God? Were we there when He laid the foundations of the earth? It’s not common reading, but take ten minutes and read Job 38. Then pray, wait and do your part as He opens doors. But for the love of Pete (who the heck is “Pete”, anyway?), quit whining about God not listening.
“I can’t find a job. No one ever calls me. These companies suck.”— Ever been hunting? You stalk the prey and kill it. The deer is NOT going to walk into your living room and say, “Man, I’ve been looking for you. Please shoot me.” That’s why it’s called “job hunting”. It’s not the fault of the businesses for not calling. Be relentless. Go out and kill the job. Call them back until they are sick of hearing your voice on the other end of the phone. God will provide.
You want one from the Bible? Try on King Saul in 1 Samuel 15. After God specifically tells Saul to go kill ALL of the Amalekites (men, women, kids, hamsters, etc.), he decides to keep some of the best animals. Samuel, the prophet, shows up and asks Saul why he didn’t follow God’s command. Saul’s answer? He blames the soldiers he was with. He owns precisely none of it, in spite of being the king over everyone.
We are only responsible for us, not the other guy. They may or may not be a contributor to our current state of affairs, but blaming them, while accepting no personal responsibility ourselves, is just ridiculous. It’s high time we took our eyes off of the other guy and started focusing on ourselves. And on God.
Friends don’t like you?: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Wish you had a better marriage?: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
Playing a good church game, but things going wrong?: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?” (1 Samuel 15:22)
Think God doesn’t care? Read 1 Peter 5:7, Luke 12:7 and John 3:16.
Bottom line? Quit whining about the other guy. It’s not always the other person’s fault. We can only control how we respond. You weren’t dealt a bad hand, and not everyone is out to get you.
You are a soldier and a son of the Most High God…start acting like one…
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David Dusek is founder and director of Rough Cut Men Ministries and author of Rough Cut Men: A Man’s Battle Guide to Building Real Relationships With Each Other and With Jesus. Rough Cut Men has been presented to NASCAR teams, at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, at military bases around the world and at hundreds of churches and men’s conferences of every denomination. To find out more about the Rough Cut Men, or to book David for an upcoming men’s event, please check out roughcutmen.com.