I stared at the Hot Wheels car submerged at the bottom of our toilet and frowned. I arched my brow and turned to spear my wide-eyed three-year old son with “the look”. He stood in his under-roos, clutching his Buzz Lightyear doll in his chubby arms, blinking those big brown eyes up at me with the innocent look of a deer.
“Nate, did you throw your Hot Wheel car in the potty?”
He swallowed, his eyes darting side to side. When his gaze landed on his Buzz Lightyear, he offered a hopeful, lopsided grin and pointed to the toy with his free hand.
“Buzz did it.”
Ah, the blame game. It’s nothing new. Adam and Eve tried the same thing in Genesis 3. As soon as they got busted for eating the forbidden fruit, Eve said, “The serpent tricked me.” Adam told God, “The woman you made for me offered me some.”
Welcome back to our blog series Liar, a look at the enemy’s most common lies and how to recognize them. We’re up to lie #6: “I can’t help the way I am”.
How many of us are tired of messing up? How many of us find ourselves falling back into the same cycle of mistakes over and over again? We tell ourselves we should stop our bad behavior and it might even work for a while but then we find ourselves right back at square one. Sometimes in worse shape than how we began.
Let’s stop for a moment and ponder a vitally important truth here: Every sin in our life, especially when it comes to an habitual sin, comes about because somewhere along the way, we’ve fallen for a lie.
A lie is only harmful to us if we believe it.
If I had actually believed my son’s lie that his Hot Wheels ended up in our toilet because Buzz Lightyear did it, then I’d have a real problem. Paranoia would be an understatement. I didn’t believe his lie, so therefore, it didn’t bug me.
But for a lot of us, we have believed the lie that screams, “I can’t help the way I am”.
I’ve always been stubborn, even as a baby.
Everyone in my family is fat. Guess it’s just hereditary.
Look how I was raised.
My dad was an alcoholic. I never had a chance.
I come from a poor neighborhood.
This is just my personality. I can’t change it.
My family never supported me.
History repeats itself.
The problem with the whole “I can’t help the way I am” philosophy is that it’s rooted in a victim mentality, which leads us to think we are helpless, forever a part of the system. It’s a subtle form of keeping us locked in bondage.
Isn’t the enemy sneaky?
Think of it this way…if our circumstances, or how we are raised, or any other condition around us makes us who we are, then we are all victims. We have no choices, no input, and no reason to even want any.
But the truth is we do have choices. Sometimes, it’s just easier to play the victim.
“I can’t help the way I am” is another way of saying “It’s not my fault” or, to quote my mischievous son, “It’s Buzz’s fault that the car is in the toilet”.
If the enemy can make us feel trapped, if we never question the cage he’s put us in, then he wins. He has us right where he wants us…defeated.
Don’t get me wrong. Some of us were born and thrust into some tough stuff. The sin curse has permeated everything, rippling down through generations, pooling deeper in some families than others. But you are not doomed to flounder in its sticky mire forever. As Nancy Leigh DeMoss has wisely stated, “Circumstances don’t make us who we are. They only reveal who we are.”
Just like Adam and Eve, it’s easy…wonderfully easy to blame someone else, our family upbringing, our circumstances, our hormones, Mondays, the idiot driver who cut us off in traffic, or any other thing for our issues but ultimately, we are responsible for the decisions we make.
If you’ve spent your life pointing a finger at the unjustice of your upbringing, the system, or any other blame shifter, then you’re stuck, forever chained to a life of a misery. But on the other hand, there is good news with sin. Yep. You read that correctly. If you sin, that means there is forgiveness. A way out. A way has been made to break free from those cycles that keep pulling you back down.
The lie: “I can’t help the way I am.”
The truth from God:
“We know that our old self [our human nature without the Holy Spirit] was nailed to the cross with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin. For the person who has died [with Christ] has been freed from [the power of] sin.” Romans 6:6,7
Jesus died to free you from your families’ bad decisions, from your chains, from your broken way of thinking, from yourself. We may not be able to control the circumstances around us, but Jesus died and rose again to guarantee that those circumstances no longer have to control us.
Replace that lie with God’s truth and then walk in it.
And make sure Buzz Lightyear isn’t hanging around.