“You’ve first got to decide that you can be free (from anger). They you’ve got to quit using your story as an excuse. The problem is that good excuses rarely collect dust. We use them and use them and use them.”- Andy Stanley
Andy Stanley concludes Chapter 7 of Enemies of the Heart as he talks about the type of person who takes every opportunity to tell his/her story. In this scenario, you want others to understand you. And, you enjoy their sympathy. However, in all honesty, your story not only explains you behavior, it justifies it. Thus, your story functions as a built-in excuse, a crutch. You believe you have every right to feel the way you do.
Yes, Pastor Stanley acknowledges, you do have every right to stay the way you are. But, the author asks, do you really want to act that way? Therefore, Andy poses this question to every angry person: “How long are you going to allow people you don’t even like to control your life? How long?”
Yet, Pastor Stanley asserts, that’s a frustrating question. Because it’s easy to naively believe you have no choice in the matter. But, you do possess the option to quit using your story as an excuse. Andy exhorts:
“You’ve got to decide to discard your crutches. Remember, your story explains your behavior, it doesn’t excuse it. Unless you’re willing to embrace this simple but annoying truth, you’ll never flush the anger from its hidden lair in your heart. Besides, justifying your behavior by reciting your story gives ongoing power to the people who hurt you.”
Finally, Andy presents the proper way to use your story. Use your story to testify to God’s ability to free you from your past. As a result, your story no longer explains your behavior. Instead, your story stands in stark contrast to it. Let God do the heart surgery.
Today’s question: What good excuses, if any, help you justify your anger? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The driving force behind greed – fear”