When I was a young boy my older brother used to tease me incessantly. He’d run away from me on the way to school and leave me sitting in the gutter crying. He’d never let me play with his friends and he’d wrestle with me and pin my arms to the ground with his knees until I cried for mercy. He’d go out of his way to make sure
I lost every game we played together, and he’d yell out my name if something wrong happened so my parents would come and automatically blame me.
One camping holiday with family friends I got really angry with him for manipulating my only friend to be his friend instead of mine. In retaliation I stuck chewing gum in his sleeping bag. Of course I got found out and my parents disciplined me by having to spend several hours removing the chewing gum from his sleeping bag.
How would you have reacted?
I learnt from that experience that it doesn’t pay to be envious. I took responsibility for my envy and sought to never practice it again. Thank God for giving me a heart to do that. I assumed that that was the normal thing that people did when they were corrected for their wrong, but as time went by I began to realise that the opposite was the case. In fact, I began to learn that most people sit there and have a paddy over the injustice and blame their brother for getting them into trouble and blame their parents for not telling their brother off for hurting their feelings.
If that’s the case, then most people are fake Christians. No one can come to Christ with a heart of blame. Blame is the opposite to taking responsibility for your own sin. It’s your sin that Jesus came to save you from, not their sin to you; so if you refuse to take responsibility for your own sin you can’t be saved from your sin.
This is not something you work out in your head, it has to be born in your heart, and it’s born in your heart when you simply say “what I did was wrong.” God can work with that, but he doesn’t work with “you won’t make me”.
The prodigal son
In Luke 15, the prodigal son came to his senses, admitted that he was wrong and went back and faced his father with the respect he hadn’t formally shown him, without expecting a return to his former position. Immediately he did that he was restored to a better position than before. The measurement wasn’t based on good or bad, it was based on taking responsibility. In fact, his return exposed the true nature of the older brother, who was doing all the good but in his heart was full of envy. He blamed the good father for his bad judgment and he blamed the brother for his bad behaviour, but he couldn’t see that the real issue for him in terms of salvation was his own envious heart. The irony is that the prodigal found salvation, but the older brother couldn’t get saved; he lived in the rights of his goodness and sat as judge over others’ weaknesses.
The older brother is just doing good things as a means of buying tickets of “like me” and cashing in his tickets when the person isn’t doing the right thing by me. In other words, using his goodness as justification that you are the one who is wrong, not me, and in so doing, missing the whole issue of his heart.
Most Christians don’t know how to take responsibility
They’re sorry as long as they share the blame, or they ignore it and hope no one says anything. In fact, most Christians tell the other person that they are the one who is responsible to say they’re wrong and hold a grievance until they do. Most Christians manipulate others with bribery or niceness to fix their problems instead of taking the responsibility themselves.
Unlike the prodigal, most Christians wait for the father to chase after them to bring them back to their position. That’s because they don’t think they are prodigal in their heart, but the real truth is, most Christians are the older brother looking like they’re helping the father but really in their blindness of heart, manipulating his response for their own benefit and self-value. This is exposed when someone else gets the better deal.
Waiting for the father to change his mind seems like a strategy of patience but in reality it’s an expression of inner stubbornness. The father would have been foolish to chase after the prodigal son and forgive him and invite him to come back without that son having made a change of heart. The son would have returned as the head of his father and the father would be forever living in the fear of his son’s threats.
Fake Christians are happy to wait for God to chase after them and fix their problems. They argue that they’ve done everything they can to get saved so it’s God’s problem if they can’t. How arrogant! That’s the attitude of a tare not the wheat. It’s simply a well-rehearsed excuse to avoid taking the responsibility.
What stops someone from taking responsibility?
The answer is FEAR. People live in the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking bad, and the fear of getting into trouble. But FEAR is not the real reason; fear is the expression of the real reason. The real reason people won’t take responsibility, is because ultimately they don’t like being told what to do. “I’ll take responsibility when I want to, not when you tell me I have to” and “I’m right, don’t tell me I’m wrong” is the real inner heart of the unsaved Christian.
I was watching my grandson playing in the sand pit with a friend. He asked the friend to move so he could drive his tractor through the mound of sand. She didn’t respond to his request but politely kept doing what she was doing appearing to have not heard him. As he persisted she eventually responded with “I’m not moving, you move”, and right there she displayed the normal attitude of a selfish Christian who hasn’t found salvation.
She was acting all nice and sweet and pleasant, but in her inner heart really saying “you can’t make me do what I don’t want to do”. Fake niceness is really just a trick to get people to like you because you love yourself and live in the fear of their rejection.
Once you’re willing to move, God will make you immoveable
My grandson was being difficult and demanding, but all the girl had to do was move. Right there and then she made a decision which would shape her future and the reversal of it is going to take more surgery than necessary.
The irony is that once you’re willing to move, whether you’re being intimidated or not, God starts training you to be immoveable against evil; but you have to be moveable first.
There is no fear in love
I was taught that if you have fear then you are wrong, but is that the truth. Jesus suffered fear at the cross, and David suffered fear from Saul, and Job was perfect yet feared.
Fear is a sign of the enemy
The real truth is, elevated proud people don’t take responsibility for their own problems. Instead they put you in fear to their advantage. When you’re elevated in yourself, without even knowing it you are under the influence of a spirit of fear and a spirit of lying. Unconsciously you will intimidate and manipulate others to protect your position. The person will sense this intimidation and manipulation (often sub-consciously) and begin to fear what you think of them or get annoyed that you are using them instead of taking their own responsibility, thus becoming trapped in the web of pride. You could argue that the recipient is innocent but, just like me and the chewing gum experience, the real truth is that they are proud too.
The issue isn’t what people are doing to you; it’s principalities and powers that oppress you
When someone tries to put fear on you or manipulate you, know that you are being attacked by a spirit of fear, and when you succumb to a spirit of fear, know that you have stepped out of the love of the Father. It’s not wrong to feel fear, it’s wrong to surrender to it.
Don’t react to the fear; let it drive you to faith. Love suffers the fear attack trusting God’s outcome; pride tries not to have fear, and love stops and recognises where the attack is really coming from..
The thorn in the flesh … 2 Corinthians 12:7
The answer to being intimidated and being manipulated and being fearful is to accept God’s strategy of the thorn in the flesh. Paul was given a thorn in the flesh to buffet him incessantly. He wanted it to go away but God knows the pride of man so He’s strategy was to leave it in place to keep him humble so he wouldn’t lose his salvation.
I spoke with a young man who clearly lives under an inherited (it runs in his family) spirit of inferiority, yet exalts himself above measure. Everything he does is to make himself feel superior and every time someone else gets a better deal, he’s envious. It was a bondage to him. I suggested that instead of fighting the inferiority he should receive it as God’s gift with thanksgiving, for without it he would be too proud to receive salvation. From that position, even though you continue to suffer it, you can be free from its bondage.
Taking responsibility can free others under your responsibility
Jesus took responsibility and opened the pathway for all to be saved.
Often separating from family spirits, like Abram, is necessary to find the will of God for your life and to help you take up your responsibility. Generational spirits can inhibit you from finding God’s will and keep you bound to the family traditions, religious beliefs, niceness techniques and family idols.
You can test where you stand with Christ by measuring your attitude when your ideas are rejected, or when someone calls you names, or when you’re not chosen to play, or when you are unjustly treated, or when things don’t work out the way you want.
Responsibility isn’t trying to correct or fix your weaknesses; that’s what arrogance tries to do. Rather it’s simply admitting “I’m wrong”. God can work with that. Responsibility is accountability. It’s carrying the burden instead of palming it off. The opposite to responsibility is blame or ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. Without you taking responsibility for your own behaviour you cannot be saved.
May God open the eyes of His remnant to their own pride instead of blaming others for the injustice.
Pastor Michael Worthington