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In Blaming Others, Derek and the Lives Transforming panel take a look at our negative and destructive emotions in relation to other people. Using the familiar TEA (Thoughts produce Emotions, which in turn produce Actions) formula, Blaming Others helps you to identify thoughts which are based on lies or cognitive distortions and replace them with the truth of God’s Word as it relates to your life.
In the book of Galatians, the Bible lists a number of things which are labeled the “works of the flesh,” contrasting them with the “fruit of the Spirit.” The works of the flesh include things like wrath, jealousy, and outburst of anger, whereas the fruit of the Spirit includes such attributes as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and faithfulness.
When dealing with our thoughts and emotions, the best way to determine whether that feeling of thought comes from God or the enemy is to examine whether it is producing the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh in you. If the thought or emotion is based on truth, it will produce peace, patience, and the fruit of the Spirit. If it is based on deception, it will produce wrath, jealousy, or other works of the flesh.
In Blaming Others, you will be challenged to identify the thoughts and emotions you have regarding others and to compare the thoughts you have and emotions you experience with God’s truth. Emotions such as fear of rejection, betrayal, and resentment are examined in detail to see how they measure up to God’s truth and how they can be replaced with more positive, productive thoughts which are based on eternal truth.
If we want to replace the negative emotions we are dealing with, we need to first replace the beliefs which are producing these feelings. When it comes to dealing with others, this occurs largely when we accept the fact that we are not responsible for the actions of others.
Many of us, in dealing with others, tend to make the mistake of personalizing others’ actions. If a husband or wife is viewing pornography, it must be because we aren’t attractive enough. If a spouse has an affair, it must be because of some shortcoming on our part. If others don’t like us, or won’t accept us if they know about our mistakes, again, it must be because of something wrong with us.
This kind of thinking is contrary to the truth. The truth is that we have intrinsic worth because God loves us and is in us. We don’t need anything external to establish our value. God has already done that, working from the inside. In many cases, getting rid of emotions such as jealousy and wrath are a matter of replacing them with the truth that we are infinitely valuable in God’s eyes.
So, to what degree, if any, is it reasonable to assign responsibility to others? The bottom line is that we are each responsible for our own thoughts and emotions. We can’t control what other people do. Whether it’s your husband looking at porn, or your child lying to you, or anyone else wronging you in any way, you ultimately can’t stop them from making the choices they make. What you can do is change the way you respond.
This is largely accomplished by recognizing that your worth as a person isn’t dependant on others’ performance (or your own, for that matter). When you accept that your worth comes from God and not your other relationships, you are free of the need to control others.
While you still may be concerned about some of the things they are involved in, your concern will begin to shift towards a genuine empathy and concern for the other person’s well being, and you find yourself free of any need of blaming others. After all, they are valuable to God as well.