“Temptations discover what we are.”
Thomas a Kempis
If you’ve read my posts for the past month, you’ve listened in on my journey to healthy responsibility. Little by little, the Holy Spirit has helped me understand the hurt behind being overly responsible. He’s shown me how responsibility became my identity, because of my desire to be needed and accepted. As I trusted in myself to be responsible, not only was my pride built up, but it also prevented others from helping me. Instead of being in control, I needed to trust God as my designated driver, and when I did, He replaced my anxiety with peace. My responsibility was to partner with God and trust Him with the outcome.
The last bit of revelation from God deals with the hook that entices me to not have healthy responsibility. Feeling sorry for others catches my attention and leads me down the wrong road. My empathy for another person’s situation pulls on my heartstrings, which leads to unhealthy choices of being overly responsible.
This aspect of my nature was clearly seen as an eight-year-old. One day I went with my friend Carol and her mom to Encanto Park in Phoenix, Arizona. We brought bread with us to tear off and feed to the ducks in the lagoon. At one point there were three ducks; two were closer to the bank, while one of them remained further out in the water. The two in front received most of the breadcrumbs. I felt sorry for the duck in the back, so I scooted up to the edge of the bank and leaned over in hopes of throwing the bread out further, and down I went into the lagoon. I can still see the seaweed floating in front of my eyes.
Scripture promises us that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). My way of escape is being aware that feeling sorry triggers an unhealthy form of responsibility.
I want to be compassionate toward others, yet prayerfully pause and ask God if there’s anything He wants me to do and how much. Remembering that their needs are under God’s control and are His responsibility helps me avoid succumbing to the enemy’s hook to sin.
“Each temptation leaves us better or worse; neutrality is impossible.”
Erwin W. Lutzer
If you struggle with unhealthy responsibility, what is the hook that tempts you to sin?