Three Taverns Church

Addicted To Control


 “When I try to control other people into making the ‘right choices’ – even to save them from what I am calling spiritual cancer, I am operating in the disease.” J. Keith Miller, A Hunger For Healing

Every day I must surrender my desire to control others. I want to be free of my addiction to control. I want to be free.

I cannot change other people and I cannot fix other people. My desire to control other people in these ways is a sin. Jesus never tried forcing people to change, yet somehow I am able to summon up the audacity to tell other people how to think and how to live. As a disciple of Jesus I must constantly guard against the temptation to appropriate God’s Word and give myself carte blanche authority to ‘straighten out’ everyone around me. Trying to ‘save’ other people and give them unsolicited advice are forms of control addiction (see this earlier post). Only God has the power and authority to save people, and He only does so when we ask Him for help.

As I reflect upon my own sin, a question occurs to me: How should I deal with people who try to control me and are operating in their own control addiction? How should I interact with people who give me unsolicited advice and say hurtful things in attempts to ‘help’ me? If I confront these people with their sin, aren’t I just turning things around and trying to control them? It seems too easy to say I should acknowledge the controlling ‘concerns’ of others, but ignore what they have to say…

How does your control addiction manifest itself?

2 thoughts on “Addicted To Control

  1. I’ve heard you mention before and again here that someone said something to you that “hurt” you. Do you think that some times people say things to others in conversation that hurt the listener but the speaker had no intention of “hurting” the listener? How can one know for sure when they say something that it will hurt the listener, unless of course it was spoken specifically to injure? The same comment or even advice might “hurt” one listener while being neutral or received happily by another. (I’m not talking about blatant insults or derogatory remarks). What do you think?

    • Oh, I’m sure that happens all the time. But does the ignorance of my hurting another person absolve me of the hurt i cause in ignorance? I think not. If I say something to my wife in passing that hurts her, and I am oblivious, her hurt is real as is my responsibility for my words.

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