There isn't much in this life that we personally have control over.
We can't control the weather.
We can't control the economy.
We can't control the magazines with questionable material (and photos) that are printed.
We can't control the availability of pornography on the Internet.
We can't control the words that come out of others mouths.
We can't control the actions of others.
We can't control the choices that our children make.
We can't control our spouse.
But we DO have a huge responsibility to ALL OF THESE THINGS.
We can control ourselves and our reactions.
We can control what we wear in the rain and stock up our pantry for a hurricane.
We can spend wisely, within our means.
We can teach our children to turn the inappropriate magazines over so the person behind us doesn't have to look at them.
We can set up a filter on the computer to help keep Internet accountability.
We can choose to walk away from gossip, turn the other cheek and even pray blessing over the people speaking bad about us (and/or others).
We can love others in spite of their sin, acknowledging that we, ourselves, are never beyond the same temptations or sin.
We can train our children as best we can and pray for them to make wise choices.
We can pray for our spouses and give unconditional grace to them in their shortcomings, because Lord knows we have made far too many mistakes as well.
My mom's mantra while I was growing up was:
"You are responsible for your own responses."
And Pastor Jimmy says:
"no matter what everybody else says, no matter what everybody else thinks...I'm responsible for me!"
So stop using everyone else and their actions, and all the circumstances around you, to determine your own response. You can make that difference. YOU are what you have control over.
The series that our church is doing is excellent! This was actually only a small part of what Jimmy talked about this week. I'd encourage you to go and listen to the messages in this series, BARRIERS, we've had so far. I promise it'll be worth your time!