The “Do What’s Right” 4 Step Action Plan.

Say this sentence out loud.  The bad behavior of others does not excuse me from doing what I know is right.  Consider writing that on a post it note and sticking it on your bathroom mirror so you can read it while you brush your teeth.  Better yet, print this out. pouting lipsThere have been many times in my life when I have used the behavior of others as an excuse to slip below my own standards and act out too.  Was I right?  Absolutely not.  I may have thought I was at the time though.  Surely anyone looking at my situation would agree, I had the right to act the way I did.  Poor me!

This thinking comes from a specific mind set. 

A victim mentality.  “I can’t help acting this way, look at how they treated me!” (Bottom lip sticking out).  That statement is not true though.  We can ALWAYS help it.  I like the illustration Rev. Keith Moore uses.  A man who habitually beats his wife says “I just can’t help it! I get so angry I just lose it”, but when you set him next to a 350 lb. line backer who can break him in half if he gets violent, some how the wife beater will find the strength to restrain himself.  This is true with all of us.  We don’t have to act from our feelings.

The bad behavior of others does not excuse me from doing what I know is right.

When people judge you unjustly, speak evil of you or are generally mean spirited, it never feels good! Ever! No one likes it when that happens.  But the true test of a person’s strength and character is found when they stand up and do what’s right even when every feeling in them is shouting for justice or revenge.

Supernatural forgiveness

Jesus when he was being crucified said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  He was responding from mercy even when they were doing the absolute worst and most hurtful thing they could do to him.  You may say “Yeah, but that’s Jesus! He’s the son of God”.  There was another man in the bible named Stephen who in Acts 7 preached a message that when the Jews heard it, made them so mad that they screamed, stopped up their ears so that they couldn’t hear anymore, took him out of the city and stoned him.  Verse 60 says that even while he was being stoned, he kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” right before he died.  This was a regular Christian guy like you and me.  Even when his very life was being taken away, he responded from mercy. Hebrews 12:4 says that you and I have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.  Verses 1-3 (WEB) say this and I find this so encouraging – “Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, that you don’t grow weary, fainting in your souls”.

Consider what that is saying. 

Jesus was drawn through the very suffering of the cross and all of the things that followed it for the next three days in the heart of the earth.  Drawing the FULL STING of Death, Hell and the Grave.  Death, Hell and the Grave kept nothing back!  All that it had was fully spent on Him.  We get a little preview in Psalm 22:12-15. Why did He do it?  “Who for the joy that was set before Him…”  Us redeemed.  That’s what drew Him through the suffering.  It meant more to Him than the pain or the shame.  The word despising here is interpreted to think against or to think down.  Jesus was doing what Paul the Apostle admonishes us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. Imagine though what would have happened if Jesus had responded badly based on how everyone was treating Him?  The earth would just be a black cinder floating in space.  Aren’t you glad He didn’t.

What’s the take-away here? 

  1. Make a decision that you will do what’s right.  Make this decision in advance.
  2. Build your life while you’re strong to carry you through when you’re weak.  Ask God for wisdom for this. It would be sheer foolishness to think that you will not be tested on this.  You need to look at situations and occasions when you behaved badly in response to someone else’s bad behavior.  Ask yourself what you could do that would give you a way out of that situation without losing control.  Now implement a strategy to carry you when you need it most.
  3. Find the Joy.  God knows what buttons to push in you to motivate and help you.  Ask Him for help.  He will put a joy in front of you that will draw you through the difficulty.  Philippians 2:13 says that God will work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
  4. Maintain your thought life.  Thoughts will come.  They always do.  We need to cast them down.  You don’t fight thoughts with thoughts, you fight thoughts with words.  When the thoughts come and you are tempted to yield to self pity and begin feeling like a victim, open your mouth and begin to thank God for all the good things He has done for you.  You will not be able to think about the negative stuff while your brain & mouth are engaged speaking about the positive stuff. Philippians 4:6-9 (WEB) says “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known go God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.  The things which you learned, received, heard, and saw in me: do these things, and the God of peace will be with you”.

Plan of Action.

What steps can you take today to help you when you are getting to close to the your red line? One of the things you can do is to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 every day.  Here’s a link to a downloadable PDF of it from the amplified Bible that has be modified for first person confession. Print this out & carry a copy with you.  I have one next to my computer monitor in my office as well as on my mirror at home.

How have you been victorious in this area?  Join the conversation and leave a comment. Your comments could be the encouragement that someone else needs to hear.

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One Response to The “Do What’s Right” 4 Step Action Plan.

  1. Mary says:

    Good word. Planning ahead is always good, even in planning our responses to situations.

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