So, how are you? Are you angry, sad, anxious, excited …? The list can be long.
Our culture is changing. People are arguing about things we didn’t talk about a few years ago. Do you believe in a climate emergency, or are those climate people crazy?
We also have politics, and abortion, and sexual identity … and that list is long. What we seem to have is a cultural civil war, and the arguments are getting louder.
This “war” can become violent. I don’t know how many have died, but some people have been injured in the fights:
In the country of Brazil, which makes up about half a continent, a recent election split the vote evenly between liberals and conservatives. The liberals won by about one percent, and now the country is divided. I hope they can work out their differences, but it’s not easy to win a cultural civil war.
So, what is happening to us? Why are we changing?
There may be many reasons, but psychologists have an expression that gives some answers “Locus of Control.” I know that is a boring expression, but it describes the spiritual problem that is ruining us. Really.
‘Locus of Control’ refers to the degree to which people feel they have control of their lives. The more control they feel they have, the greater their motivation to make changes.
This video gives a clearer definition, and it also has links to other resources, if you are interested:
I was joking with some friends at a worksite, a few days ago, and someone blamed me for the weather. The weather was getting bad, and my friend was teasing me. We agreed that we could take the blame for anything bad that happened, but we would never get credit for anything good. Why did we say that? We all agreed, we were married men, with families, and that’s just how it goes. Someone had to take the blame if someone else is not happy, so why not us, husbands and fathers?
Feel free to disagree. We were joking, but there is some truth in our jokes. Do you remember the time when you could blame your parents for the way your life turned out?
It can be hard to let go of that.
I remember a summer day, when I went to my parent’s house. I can clearly remember those two wrinkled old people who came to the door. I didn’t have a problem with them, but one idea was clear to me. If anyone had a score to settle with them, it was too late. They wouldn’t understand the conversation.
Somehow, they got older, and I didn’t notice. I clearly saw that the locus of control, in my life, was on me. I get the blame, and I get the credit.
That was a startling revelation. We all need to reach that level of maturity
In any polarized demonstration, the problem that concerns me, is you. We have a climate crisis because you people don’t care, or I can’t get home from work because crazies are blocking the train.
Blame shifting has become an epidemic. People everywhere are outraged by what those other people are doing. The other people may be wrong, but the fingers only point in one direction.
It’s so comfortable.
This is not a new issue, but it is coming back to us in force, now.
Thousands of years ago, a large crowd of people were told:
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24: 14 and 15)
Whatever those other people did, you choose.
The most important decision we can ever make, is on us. God put the locus of control on you, and me. We have a choice about our spiritual life, and our eternal destiny, and that does not come from our families.
I believe that our spiritual sickness comes from blame shifting. We like being outraged by the wrong things that other people do. If we oppose them enough, we can feel good about ourselves.
We have been given a different cultural shift, and it puts the locus of control directly on each of us:
“I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20: 12 and 13.)