A major temptation of the enemy has to do with taking responsibility for the feelings, beliefs, and actions of others. In this tactic, we are hit from both sides. Satan loves to set us up to blame others for our feelings and choices, as in, “he/she made me feel ________” or “I did it because they did _________” or “if they would just _______, then I would be ok.” From the other end of the spectrum, the enemy also loves it when we accept responsibility for others, agreeing that what they are feeling is our fault, and by extension we responsible for how others act because of how we “made them” feel. We then try to “fix” things for others instead of allowing them to accept their own responsibility. The enemy leaves us feeling, “if we would just _______, then the other person would feel better or would be happy.” In doing so, we enable others to remain victims, and interrupt their possibility of growth and change.
The truth is, we are not responsible for how others feel or what they choose. God has given us authority over one thing and one thing only: ourselves. And He is clear that over ourselves, we have been given full authority, because of the freedom provided by the cross of Christ and His resurrection. As Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19). Satan tries to usurp our personal autonomy and limit our choices, but we do not have to agree to give up our authority to him. I encourage you to stop taking responsibility for others, and to reclaim your authority and take responsibility for yourself and your choices. Your feelings are yours; your behavior is yours; your choices are yours.