Don’t own what’s not yours – an old commandment

Many years ago (more than I want to admit) I took a 7 habits class at work. Â While it was hard to apply at the time I remember the circle thingy they taught in class. Over to the right you can see my pathetic re-creation of it – the circles of control, influence and concern.

Without re-teaching the entire class I’ll summarize what this means:
  • The innermost circle – where we are – is the the circle of control – what we can really control.
  • The middle circle is the circle of influence – what we don’t have control over – but what (or who) we can influence.
  • The outermost circle is the circle of concern – what we care about.

I think Covey hit on a fundamental human truth – that where we put so much of our time and energy is on what we can’t control, what we can’t influence. I put the stick figure in the middle – as that’s where we really are – in that what we can really control is ourselves. The tragedy is that we spend some much energy on what we are concerned about – and not what we can control and influence.  Covey teaches that as we focus on ourselves (what we can control)  – instead of what we are concerned about – our circle of influence can actually grow.

Remember that Ten Commandments thing – where Moses comes down from the mountain (this is an actual historical fact – not just a movie) with the stone tablets. One of those ancient commandments  is “Do Not Steal” – i.e. don’t take what’s not yours. In thinking about this in more than just stuff – but applying it to life I realized there’s a relationship to what Covey teaches. I think another way to state this commandment is “Don’t take ownership of something that’s not yours”
We “steal” in many different ways:
  • we physically take something that’s not ours (large or small)
  • we protect our kids from consequences of their own choices (we steal the opportunity to learn from them)
  • we do things for other people instead of letting them do things for themselves
  • we take thoughts and ideas that aren’t ours and claim them as our own
  • we steal from those around us by focusing our energy on things we can’t control (and ignoring ourselves)
  • we give or sell to others things that aren’t ours – downloaded music, software, etc.
  • we steal from God by trying to control too much – instead of letting him be God
  • we try to but into relationships between other people that isn’t ours to be in the middle of

This is only a partial thought -but something to hopefully help you meditate on what’s yours and what isn’t yours. To examine your life to see if you are taking ownership of something that isn’t yours – big or small

Categories: Bible Thoughts

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