Blame and Control....
“He is a refiner’s fire, and that makes all the difference. A refiner’s fire does not destroy indiscriminately like a forest fire. A refiner’s fire does not consume completely like the fire of an incinerator. A refiner’s fire refines. It purifies. It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. He is like a refiner’s fire.
It's Snow Day #3 here in Texas, and for my Nonna, that means Day #3 of cold temps, cloudy weather, and aching joints. She hates the cold and it makes her grumpy and today was the zenith of all her frustrations. I walked into the kitchen and I was unknowingly blindsided by her temper tantrum. She was angry and Italian curse words and name calling were flying around the room.
Normally I would have reacted in a similar fashion, trying to yell over her to be heard, but I found out long ago how little that helped the situation and God had been talking to me about responding to other people. So this time I believed I was responding right when I simply talked to her as calmly as I could, even though I was shaking with anger inside.
I walked away, patting myself on the back that I'd finally learned how to handle her outbursts, but as soon as I stepped foot upstairs, the tears came. Angry tears, along with feelings of hopelessness. I wanted to run away and never come back. I wanted not to care about who got her groceries or made sure her medications were being taken, or whether she ate home-cooked meals. But I couldn't do that, and that made the situation all the more desperate. Then I heard him.
What's the Lie?
Lie? Come on God, you and I have been through this! How many freedom classes and sessions did I need to go through! I got this....it's her fault I feel like this, go talk to her!
What's the Lie?
God, come on! I'm free! Go talk to her--she's the one in bondage! Everything is always someone else's fault, usually mine. She's the reason I feel like this!
And then I stopped....because I finally heard myself. I bet you can guess what I heard? Contradiction. Here I was blaming her for the way I was feeling because she was always blaming someone else--wow, even Dr. Phil would have trouble with that one!
I knew the lie--it was about who I was responsible for. The answer was me. I could only be responsible for my actions, my motivations, my heart. When we feel pain or unhappiness there are usually two routes we take that lead to bondage: to control others decisions, or to hold ourselves responsible for the decisions others make. Those routes come with two annoying traveling partners: blame and control. The road to freedom comes when we realize that the only person we're responsible for is ourselves. This is the road that leads us to forgiveness--to give others and their actions up to God and withhold any judgement both from ourselves and others.
With that weight off my shoulders, I'm free to not only respond to those who hurt me with love, but to break the cycle of blame and control that has lived in my family for as long as I can remember. I'm so thankful for a God that is continually refining the impurities and lies from my heart, even when I'm stubborn and cannot see them. Psalm 146:8 The LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down.