The consequences of their own choices

By Dave Henning / March 10, 2021

“It truly is one of the most heartbreaking moments of anyone’s life when they have to release a loved one to the consequences of their own choices.  But it’s also the only chance that either of you have to get better.  And it’s the only shot you have at staying healthy enough to walk the road of forgiveness.”- Lysa TerKeurst

In Chapter 9 (“Boundaries That Help Us Stop Dancing with Dysfunction”) of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, Lysa TerKeurst’s focus centers on what to do when survival is your only goal.  But forgiveness will be your eventual reality.  Because, Lysa underscores, the decisions we make today make the forgiveness we eventually must walk through so much more doable.

Hence, Lysa explains what happens when we recognize that hurting people hurt other people.  At that point, two directions to channel our energy appear:

  1. Draw appropriate boundaries.  Here the purpose involves shielding ourselves from the consequences of others’ hurtful behaviors affecting us more than them.  Not shutting them out.
  2. Try and change that person.  However, such an attempt only causes that person to grow more and more difficult as you continue to tighten your grip.  In addition, all you accomplish, at best, is behavior management.

Above all, Lysa counsels, relationships in need of boundaries never heal on their own.  The author explains:

“Trust me, the people who you think need to change the most will wind up changing the least when your efforts are greater than their own. . . .  Why?  Because true heart change?  A lasting transformation?  If the other person doesn’t personally pursue it, they’ll never be able to keep choosing better behaviors for themselves.  And the minute you let them out of your cage of control, they’ll get worse, not better.  And not only will they get worse, but so will the situation and, even more tragic, so will you.”

Today’s question: How hard do you find it to release people to the consequences of their own choices?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Efforts of control or efforts of compassion?”

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Dave Henning

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