How To Stop Blame And Find Your Personal Power
(Note: This is Part 7 of the 8-Part Series, How To Get Rid Of Bad Habits Now!)
Warning: You will be shocked.
These next three stories will make your jaw drop to the floor in total bewilderment that these absurdities actually happen in real life.
Mrs. Kathleen Robertson of Texas was in a furniture store. She tripped over a toddler and broke her ankle. So she sued the store owners. The store owners were surprised because the misbehaving toddler was Mrs. Kathleen Robertson’s own son! But she won the case and was awarded $80,000.
Carl Truman of Los Angeles was stealing hubcaps from a Honda Accord. He didn’t realize that the driver was inside the car. As the driver drove off, Carl’s hand was caught under the tire. What did the thief do? He sued the owner. The court awarded him $74,000 plus medical expenses.
Terrence Dickson of Pennsylvania robbed a house and was leaving through the garage. But he found himself locked in the garage. Because the family was on vacation, he was trapped there for 8 days, living on a case of Pepsi and dog food. Yes, Terrence sued for the undue mental anguish he experienced during those 8 days. And would you believe? He won the case to the tune of $500,000.
All these true-to-life stories tell you one thing: People like to blame others for their own mess. And society supports this bankrupt pattern of thinking!
My Sixty-Four Million Dollar Question
Are you blaming others or are you taking charge?
Here’s what I learned in life: You can’t do both.
I urge you—stop complaining about your mess and make things happen!
In John Maxwell’s book, Failing Forward, he asked the question, “What is common among all successful people in the world?”
1. Is it their Family Background? Many came from great families, but others came from broken families too.
2. How about Education? Sure, there are many college graduates who became successful. But there are a number of very successful people who didn’t even graduate from high school. There are 222 Billionaires in the entire world, and 10% of them are college dropouts. (Including the richest man in the world, Bill Gates.)
3. Is it Religion? I wish I could say that only those who are real disciples of Jesus are successful in life. But that’s not true. Because there are also devoted Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus who lead lives of love, excellence, and abundance. And Atheists too!
If it’s not these three things, what then is common among all successful people?
You Can Be Successful!
The only thing that’s common to all successful people is how they respond to failure: They take charge.
Every successful person in the world responds to failure positively.
They bounce back.
They don’t whine, complain, or blame. Instead, they stand up and fix it.
They take responsibility.
Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, are Expert Blamers.
You’ll also discover that all addicts are Expert Blamers.
They will never take charge. They will never say, “I’m in charge. Depending on what I choose, my life can be very beautiful or very ugly.” Because addicts believe that others are to blame for their problem.
Expert Blamers blame three favorite things…
1. Another Person
2. The Devil
Find out who you blame the most…
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First Favorite Thing To Blame:
Adam and Eve represent all the Unsuccessful People in the world. Because they were Expert Blamers.
When God asked, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Adam said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
In other words, the woman is to blame!
And if you study history, men have always blamed women for everything that has gone wrong in the world. (I think the scientific word for this phenomenon is Jerkhood.)
What’s the truth?
Many of the problems of this world are really a problem of manhood.
Larry Crabb says the same thing. He says the world is in a catastrophic mess right now because of one sin: The silence of Adam. (That’s the title of his intriguing book.) He says Adam didn’t protect his wife Eve. Instead, Adam remained silent. He should have said, “Sweetheart, what are you doing talking to that slimy Mr. Snake? I’m your husband and I will not just stand here while he’s lies to you and robs you. I will protect you. Stand back while I whack that creature on its head.”
Men have not taken responsibility for the spiritual life of their families.
Men have not been aggressive enough to care for their wives, their children, and their communities.
What do men do? They earn the money and do nothing else. Thinking that’s all there is to being a man, they live their own little selfish life with a beer bottle in one hand and a TV remote on the other.
When You Blame Other People,
You Give Them Your Power And Become Powerless
One day, I had the uncomfortable task of confronting a guy—a member of our community—when we found out he was having an affair.
Without warning, I visited his home.
“What happened, my friend?” I asked him.
Immediately, he knew I knew. Like a cornered cat, he became defensive.
“Bo, if you knew my wife,” he said, “you too would commit adultery. Each day, I’d come home from work tired and exhausted, and I get nothing but a nagging wife upset about this and upset about that. Every single night!”
That was not all. After blaming his wife, he began to say, “And you know why I fell, Bo? Because of you…”
“Wha…?” Shucks, I wish someone took a photograph of my facial expression at that precise moment.
“Bo, I’m a member in your community,” he continued, “But you don’t call me. You don’t visit me at home. You don’t follow me up. That’s why I fell…”
He was Adam resurrected.
With that kind of blaming mindset, he would never change his life.
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Second Favorite Thing To Blame:
Can I tell you one of my original bedtime stories? (If you’re a father of hyperactive boys, you probably have your own made-up stories as well.)
It is about The Legend of Mugaboo.
One day, in an otherwise pleasant forest inhabited by many happy animals, an eerie sound was heard. From a cave up on a cliff, all the animals could hear a menacing voice. “I’m Mugabooooo! I’m Mugaboooo!” the voice said again and again.
All the animals scampered in fright like mice on a shiny kitchen floor. The little birds took flight, the monkeys climbed to the tallest trees, and even the lions hid in their caves.
“Bring me fruits now!” the same voice ordered, “Or else!”
The animals went to the opening of that cave, trembling in fear, bringing apples, oranges, berries to Mugabagoo.
And the next day, they heard the same voice again. And the animals would bring fruit to the cave on the cliff again.
And the day after that, it happened again.
Thus began a ritual that lasted for many years.
The Turtle Who Wasn’t Afraid
In that same jungle was a spunky little turtle named Benedict who wasn’t afraid. (Just in case you don’t know, that’s the name of my son. That’s “Story-Telling Strategy 101 for Parents”.) Because he had doubts about the Legend of Mugaboo. He wondered why each day, his parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts were slaving themselves collecting fruit for this monster.
“Has anyone ever seen this beast we are all afraid of?” he asked. So far, no one has ever told him that they had seen the monster. But everyone had a scary story to tell.
The monkeys spoke of terrifying shadows inside the cave that shifted like the wind. The deer and antelopes spoke of hearing eerie footsteps in the night. And the bears, tigers, and lions spoke about how large and fearsome Mugaboo must be—possibly a bear, tiger, and lion put together!
And as these stories circulated, Mugaboo’s power grew stronger by the day.
That was when Benedict said, “Enough is enough. I will go into this mysterious cave and see what Mugaboo looks like.”
When Courage Sets An Entire Forest Free
Early one morning, Benedict climbed up the cliff and crept into the cave.
Except for its funnel shape, it was a normal looking cave. And except for half-eaten fruits inside, he found it empty.
So he pulled his legs and head back into his shell, and waited for the monster to appear. After two hours of waiting in the darkness, he heard footsteps. And immediately, he felt a cold chill run through his spine.
Mugaboo had arrived!
And then he heard the words he always heard each day, “I’m Mugaboooo! Give me fruits now!”
But this time, from inside the cave, the voice didn’t sound so menacing at all.
In fact, it sounded oddly familiar.
Benedict popped his head out and was shocked to see a little squirrel shouting to the top of his lungs.
And then he understood why. Because of the cave’s unique funnel shape, it made the cave a giant megaphone. Everything said here—even the slightest whisper—was amplified throughout the forest.
Benedict knew the squirrel’s name too. And it wasn’t Mugaboo—But Kookoo, a squirrel already known for his mischief.
So Benedict, from behind the squirrel, shouted also to the top of his voice, “I’m Kokoo… Oops! Er, I mean, I’m Mugaboo!”
Kookoo turned around in shock to see the turtle behind him. His secret was now gone! Fearing for his dear life, Kookoo darted out of the cave—and out of the forest—never to be seen ever again.
Benedict crawled out of the cave amidst the cheering animals, chanting “Benedict the Great!”
Because of courage, the forest was free again.
The Devil Is Running On Borrowed Power
In the Garden of Eden, these words were spoken: Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
After all these centuries, nothing much has changed. People still say, “The devil made me do it!”
There are people who find the devil hiding behind every corner, tempting us, oppressing us. People like blaming demons for everything—a flat tire, a migraine, a sick child, a divorce, a loss of job, a business failure, an adulterous relationship.
But here’s the truth: Just like Kokoo, the Devil operates on borrowed power.
Whose power? Yours. Unless you give your power to the devil, he will have no power over you.
Because his power is based on a lie.
Because his power is based on your fear.
The more fear we have of him, the more power he has over us.
Friend, here’s the truth: You have power over the devil.
Why? Because you’re a child of God.
Chisel this on stone: Blaming the devil for our problems is useless.
Stop doing it.
In fact, he likes that you blame him. By making himself bigger, he has power over your life.
Instead, be like Benedict the turtle. By your courage to take charge, you will free yourself—and others as well.
Third Favorite Thing To Blame:
Adam said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
What was he saying? That God—who created the woman—is to blame!
Here are true-to-life scenarios…
· A single woman emailed me. She told me she was having an affair with a married man. She ended her letter by saying, “May tampo ako kay Lord (I have a grudge against God). Why did this happen? Why did God allow me to fall in love with this man?” I wrote back to her, “God gave you the ability to fall in love with anyone when He made you a human being. But no, God did not make you fall in love with this married man. You chose that to happen.”
· A man came up to me and said that he has been smoking for 30 years and now has emphysema. He asked me, “Why did God make me sick?” I told him bluntly, “God did not make you sick. Cigarettes do.”
· A young woman cried to me one day, telling me she was 3-months pregnant by her boyfriend—who was now nowhere to be found. Her parents still didn’t know. She then asked me, “Why is God punishing me? Why did He give me a baby?” I told her, “God isn’t punishing you. Sex makes babies.”
· A married couple asked me for prayers, “Bo, we’re heavily in debt. And we’re mad at God. Why is He abandoning us?” Later on, I discovered that they liked eating in fancy restaurants twice a week, and they liked wearing designer clothes, and they liked driving a beautiful car—all bought with borrowed money. I told them, “God did not make you poor. You’re financially poor because you’re financially illiterate.”
When you blame others, when you blame the devil, and when you blame God, you’re saying, “I’m a helpless victim of circumstance. I’m not in control. I’m not in charge.”
When I was in Indonesia, I rode an Elephant for the first time.
What an experience to be on top of that beautiful animal.
But here’s what amazed me more: How could a 6-ton beast be held captive by a flimsy rope tied to his foot? All he had to do was sneeze hard enough and the rope would snap. But like a tiny puppy, the elephant would just stay there.
Later, I found out why.
When the elephant was a tiny baby, that rope was strong enough to hold him captive.
At the beginning, little jumbo pulled and pulled against the rope—but all in vain. Finally, the baby elephant concluded that all effort was useless.
So even when he grew in size and power—and can now actually cut that rope with a careless jerk of its foot—it won’t. Why? Because the rope isn’t tied to its body. The rope is tied to its mind.
This phenomenon is called “Learned Helplessness” and it doesn’t only happen to elephants. It also happens to human beings. After many failed attempts, we give up. And we blame the rope for our misery.
Friend, what are the ropes in your life?
Remember: It’s not tied to your body. It’s tied to your mind. So you can’t untie it in reality without untying it in your mind first.
You can do that only through the opposite of Learned Helplessness…
Speaking of learned helplessness,
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If there’s such a thing as “Learned Helplessness”, then there’s the phenomenon of “Learned Power”. God has supplied you the power to change your life—you just have to discover it within you.
Learned Helplessness happens one day at a time.
Learned Power happens one day at a time too.
But many Christians will tell me, “Bo, that smells like ‘willpower’ Christianity. That doesn’t work. We need to depend on God alone.” I’ve also met Christians who tell me, “Bo, I’ve tried my best to stop my sin. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried ‘willpower’ Christianity and failed miserably. So I’m now just surrendering everything to God…”
Hey, that’s fine—if “surrendering” means depending on God.
He is the source of all blessings.
But listen well: God’s infinite blessing will have to flow through a channel, and one of His major channels is through your will. Because God works through your choices.
And by the mere fact that He gave you freewill, don’t you think He wants you to use it? Or is it some sick tool He gave you to prove that no matter how much you use it, it won’t work? (Gosh, if that were true, God is cruel.)
The Bible says that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. I believe that. And I believe that includes the power to decide to change your life one day at a time.
Break The Rope One Strand At A Time
If I tied a single strand of thread around your two hands, would you be able to break free? In a snap, right?
But what if I tied your hands with one hundred strands of thread—would it be as easy?
No it won’t. Brute strength would be useless.
You need a strategy: You need to cut one piece of thread at a time.
It’s the same thing with a bad habit.
You have to do it one day at a time.
Tomorrow, do the same thing.
And the next day, do it again.
And pretty soon, you’ll be cutting the last strand.
Friend, you’re not helpless. You can change your life!
You can change your Spiritual life.
You can change your Family life.
You can change your Physical Life.
You can change your Financial life.
If You’re Not Going To Blame Others,
Should You Blame Yourself?
God is not in the business of blaming people.
God is in the business of loving people, forgiving people, and giving people abundance.
If you have a fault, accept it.
If you have sinned, admit it.
But never condemn yourself!
Instead, take responsibility. Take charge!
When you take responsibility, you don’t blame and condemn yourself.
Because condemnation won’t heal you. Judging yourself won’t heal you. Taking a guilt trip won’t heal you. Shaming yourself won’t heal you. Only love will. And by taking charge, you love yourself.
Shaming Doesn’t Work
I find this ugly habit among unwise parents: They like shaming their kids.
When they scold their little ones, their favorite word is Mahiya ka! (Shame on you.) Hindi ka ba nagiisip? (Don’t you know how to think?)
And when these unwise parents punish, they do so with the whip of shame.
They shout at their kids to humiliate them. They shout at their kids in front of others to increase their shame. In their anger and frustration, they want to make their children feel embarrassed.
Parents, listen carefully: Shaming someone does nothing to make that person better!
It doesn’t work when we do it on our children.
It doesn’t work when we do it on our friends.
And it doesn’t work when we do it on ourselves.
A Different Kind of Examination of Conscience
For years, each night, before going to bed, I would do what the Church called an “Examination of Conscience”. I would scan my entire day to see if I committed any sin. I would then ask for forgiveness and go to sleep.
For years I was doing this practice, but deep within, something was telling me there was something lacking. Today, I discovered it was God speaking to me, telling me that my Examination of Conscience was pathetically incomplete.
Today, I now realize that if it’s a complete, full-bodied, authentic Examination of Conscience, I should first search for the times when I did right before I search for the times I did wrong. When was I good today? When did I reflect God’s face today? When did I love others today? When did I love myself today? When was I able to serve and give and share?
Because that’s how God thinks about me. He’s not a Platoon Sergeant preparing his troops for a military parade, inspecting for lint on my uniform and mud in my boots. Like the Father who welcomed the prodigal son who came home from working with the pigs, He embraces my dirt, my mud, and my pig stench. He puts a royal robe around my shame. He throws a welcome party for me. He loves me.
And then He’ll give me a bath.
He’ll remove my dirty. He’ll remove my mud. He’ll remove my stench.
We’ve got it all wrong. The primary focus of an Examination of Conscience is not sin. The focus is receiving love. And that love will heal my sin.
Because what we focus on grows. If I focus on my sin only, it grows. But if I focus on my good, the good grows in me. And it grows so much that it replaces the bad within me.
Let me end with these powerful words:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frighten us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
I remain your friend,
PS. DON’T EVER MISS THE MEGA-EVENT OF THE YEAR! Be mega-blessed at the Kerygma Conference 2007: You Have The Power! That’s November 23, 24, and 25 at the ULTRA. Thousands of people from all over the country are coming to receive the overflowing blessings that will pour out on those three great, spiritually-charged days. Click here for more information. For your discounted tickets, call up Tel. (632) 7259999. Don’t delay. Get your tickets now and reserve your blessing!
PS2. I’m giving the mind-blowing, income-expanding How To Be Truly Rich Seminar on November 3, 2007, 9am to 12noon. I want as many people to learn how to reach financial freedom, so we made it very affordable. Your learning investment is P475 only per person. For more information, click here. You may also call Beckie at Tel. (632) 7229562 Tuesdays to Fridays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It’s not too late to get out of debt, start investing, and gain financial freedom for your life. Call Beckie now at Tel. (632) 7229562.
PS3. By the way, are you already members of my global, borderless, non-physical family called the KerygamFamily.com yet? If you’re not yet one, you’re missing out on a LOT of fantastic stuff. Change your life by getting a mountain load of great nourishment for your soul, FREE. Log on at www.kerygmafamily.com now!
Action Plan: Do you blame others, the devil, and God for the mess in your life? Or do you take charge?
 Genesis 3:11-13
 Genesis 3:11-13