If you listen to news or read Facebook posts regularly, you hear someone, somewhere complaining about something or blaming someone else for their problems or the woes of our nation. I certainly want to hear people out but honestly if you let it, it’s enough to drive you to raging anger or simply throw up your hands and “tune it all out.” Or even worse, you start thinking like they do and become the very “bad press” that you dislike in others.
The reality is that most of us at some point and time have been wrongfully judged, accused, bullied or mistreated. Wrongful attitudes and actions are no respecter of persons. Even the most perfect being that walked the face of the earth was mistreated and victimized by others… “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
What a beautiful example of the fact that just because we are wronged by others, we don’t have to be like many around us who slip into the “blaming, victim” cycle that seems to dominate the thinking and behavior of many around us. We can choose to respond and think differently.
I recall one occasion while I was in my teens that a group of church members were falsely accusing my dad who was a pastor of wrong doing. Upon hearing this I became extremely angry and began verbally listing things that I knew they had done wrong and how I was going to let everyone know about it. My dad looked at me and said: “Son, don’t let the vengeful spirit of others lead you to become a person you are not. We will not become one of them. We are cycle breakers. We are better than that.” Almost immediately the “fire” driving my anger quickly subsided. My vengeful plans went away. Dad was right. And I have honestly tried to live my life the way Jesus lived his, and the way my dad taught me. Sometimes I failed, failed miserably. But, Jesus’s example and my dad’s words continue to influence me to choose to be different, to be a cycle breaker.
Are you tempted to carry on the unhealthy attitudes, behaviors, cycles of others? Stop, think and decide to be a cycle breaker in all areas of your life. Teach your kids to do the same.
“My mom and dad divorced when I was ten. My friends are all divorced”….Be a cycle breaker.
“My wife hurt me deeply. I have every right to hurt her back.” … Be a cycle breaker.
“My dad spoke down to my mom, treated her like a child.”… Be a cycle breaker.
“A guy at work is constantly trying to get me fired by saying things about me that simply are not true”…Be a cycle breaker.
“My closest friend betrayed me and hurt me deeply.”…Be a cycle breaker.
Mitch Temple is the Executive Director of the Fatherhood CoMission. For more on Mitch and his ministry, please visit www.mitchtempleonline.com.