The Bus Stop is a series of true stories about my life, people I've worked with and events I've experienced. Of course the names have been changed. I hope these stories will brighten your day with a few laughs as well as give you encouragement. Hopefully you can avoid making some of the mistakes I've made and if you have already made them, then you can identify with me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are You in the Box?

Scott wanted to watch the news before he went to bed and then he watched a sitcom to get his mind off the news. Sarah went on to bed since she was so tired. Scott eventually turned off the TV and went to bed. He was exhausted and had a long day. His head had no more hit the pillow when he heard the baby start crying. He thought to himself, “I’ll just sit here a few minutes and maybe the baby will go back to sleep.” After several minutes the child was relentless and wanted attention. His next step was to wait out his wife and hopefully she would hear the baby and respond. Another 5 minutes passed and she didn’t even move a little. He came to the conclusion she was probably faking it so he’d have to get up and tend to the baby.

Scott couldn’t believe how uncaring and insensitive that Sarah could be. He began to imagine all sorts of horrible things about his wife. She was lazy, uncaring, insensitive and manipulative just because she thought she deserved more sleep that him.

Since he was a good father and apparently more loving than she was he finally got up and took care of the baby. After 30 minutes or so the baby went back to sleep. Then he had difficulty getting to sleep because he was so angry at his wife for being this manipulative demon.

The next morning when they both got up he was cold and aloof to Sarah and she had no idea what his problem was. Sarah actually was a loving, giving and very sensitive person. She was a great mother and she really was asleep when all this was going on. Everything Scott had created was in his imagination.

This is called self-deception or being in the box. We’re all guilty of it and we do it everyday in many kinds of situations. At home, work, church or even with our friends or strangers.

All of this started when Scott first heard the baby. If he would have instantly got up, took care of the child and went back to bed, he wouldn’t have had to let his imagination run wild. Instead, he sat there and waited. Then he felt guilty and had to come up with justification why he was waiting and the only way to do this was to make his wife out to be a worse person than him. When he finally got up this fueled his justification and raised him to a higher level above his wife. The only one at fault here was Scott. This is a good example of James 4:17, it says, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. He paid the price for his sin. He didn’t sleep well, he got up angry and miserable and even though he tried to blame his wife for his feelings, this was all the results of sin.

Many times we have desires that are extremely strong, but we know deep down that they’re wrong. Such as, if a man wants to cheat on his wife or if a wife wants to cheat on her husband they would need to make the other person out to be a horrible person so they within their mind could justify their actions. So in reality their spouse probably really isn’t this demon they’ve created. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. James 1:14

Guilt is extremely powerful and can cause us to do all kinds of things. We don’t want to ever feel guilty for making mistakes, hurting others or sinning so we are constantly in search of a scapegoat (excuse) or justification. Think about it a minute. The problem that you are having now with your spouse or ex or anyone else for that matter is the same problem you had before you ever met them. Who have you been blaming for your feelings, actions or poor behavior? It may seem convenient, but it will always catch up with us in the end.

Let’s take a quick test.

  • Are you still blaming your mother, father, spouse or ex, children, relative or friend for how your life has turned out or problems you are having? If so, you’re in the box.
  • If you know something good you’re supposed to do for someone (refer to above) and you resist it you are in the box.
  • Are you taking responsibility for your feelings, attitudes and behaviors or are you trying to get someone else to do this for you. If so, you’re in the box.

There is one person in every problem that we have and that is ourselves. It may make us feel better at the time to blame our problems on someone else, but eventually we will have to face it. It doesn’t matter how many times we marry or when we get that better job or live in that new house trying to correct our old problems. We need to come head to head with the issue that’s holding us back.

What it boils down to is ownership. We have to own everything we do in our body. It really doesn’t matter what happened to you and me years ago because we are still responsible for ourselves. When we stand before God and have to give account of the things we’ve done in our body, those excuses and justifications will go out the window. Adam and Eve already tried blaming each other and God and didn’t get away with it.

You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12

This is long so it will be continued tomorrow or a few days. You may need to chew on it awhile.

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