The third mistake Elijah made is that he blamed himself for negative events that were not his fault. Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword” (1 Kings 19:10). He said, in effect, “I have worked hard for three years, but they’re still not any closer to you. I have really tried, but they’re still living the same way as before.”
In his depression Elijah blamed himself for failing to change the nation, and he took it personally. A third mistake that causes depression is that we take false blame. When we do that, we will always become depressed. If we assume a responsibility that God never intended us to have, it is too heavy a burden.
If you are in the habit of helping people, you realize sooner or later that people do not always respond the way you would like them to, whether it’s your children, your friends, your spouse, or people you work with. People react in many different ways. You can’t assume responsibility for their responses.
God has given each of us a free will. When you assume responsibility for other people’s decisions, you accept a burden that will only depress you. You can sometimes influence people, but you cannot control them. The final decision is theirs. Don’t be depressed by something you cannot control.
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
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How to Cope with Stress
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How Can I Defeat Depression?
How Can I Live Above Average?
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How Can I Handle Discouragement?
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How Did I Get Myself in To This Mess?
How Can I Overcome Loneliness?
Why Is This Happening to Me?