People Are Free to Act However They Want
Hopefully, as you learn about GR8 Relationships, you are learning more about freedom in relationships. Now you have a difficult question to answer. Do you accept that people are free to act however they want?
(Of course, there are clear examples and great reasons to limit other’s freedom that will be discussed later. For now, entertain the thought that you may be actually or mentally denying other’s freedom.)
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” – Genesis 2:16-17
People Are Free - You Don't Give Freedom
The first command in Genesis 2:16-17 shows how God created Adam and Eve with the ability to choose, implying freedom. That built-in freedom is often ignored as if it doesn't exist. That creates so many problems in relationships.
So, here is a way to see how you think about whether people are free or not. When you begin to learn about freedom, you may hear yourself say something like, "I am giving them freedom."
Is that true? Do you actually give people freedom?
Those words imply you do not understand a basic element of freedom. You can only give freedom when it is actually in your control. For example, you can give someone a goal to achieve, unlock their cell door, or give them your automobile keys to use your car. They are free to ignore the goal, the unlocked cell door, or the use of your car.
But, that is not giving them freedom in the way we are discussing it. People are free to act however they want, they already ARE free, that isn't something you give.
It is something that you ACCEPT as true.
Actually, if you do not pay attention to the wording difference, you continue to live with the misconception that you can remove their freedom.
Do My Actions Show That I Believe People Are Free?
Most likely you do not realize how much you try to control other people.
For instance, are you mad at them without telling them? Are you discouraged, angry, depressed, or resentful when “They just don’t get it”? Are their poor values, bad decisions or bad thinking causing you to worry and fret? Perhaps you think, “They don’t realize how bad ‘that’ is and what ‘that’ does to them, the kids, and others (and ME)! Or, “If they don’t get this corrected, [insert: something terrible] will happen to them (and maybe even reflect on me)!”
When you have that thinking, it denies the reality of their freedom to act badly, even sin, and experience the consequences. Of course, that is why you are trying to limit their freedom, so they will not experience the consequences. And, too often, you want to control other people’s lives for the wrong reason. If they change, then you can relax and be happy – at least for a little while.
I'm Only Concerned
You claim, “I’m only concerned. Isn’t that okay?”
If you answer yes, you may see sin in another person’s life, you know sin has consequences. If that is the case, you can hope, pray, and encourage, and perhaps exhort and rebuke. You do those things, because you know God has asked you to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). You are not doing this to be the Jr. Holy Spirit in their life – you do it because it is pursuing their best.
Or, your answer is no, it is more like you must make them change. If true, that’s where their behavior controls you. You are alive and well in the Left Circle. You may have the right motive, hoping they change so they don't experience the consequences of their sin, but you see this as your responsibility – not God’s and theirs – to change their behavior.
Be careful and be objective. Your ME flashing will remove objectivity every time.
Satan and your sin nature can take the beauty of grace and freedom and distort it. Please don't let that happen.