It wasn’t even a full grown squirrel. I almost missed seeing him (or her) completely, they were so small. A baby squirrel, tiny and fuzzy and in spite of being wild, cute as any cuddly furry thing I’d ever seen!
I stopped my car in deference to this tiny creature, and watched with unhidden glee as it scampered hither and to, frolicking about right in the middle of the road with no awareness of the danger it was courting.
I waited, patiently but not without some joy, for an adult squirrel to come along and lead this little one out of this danger zone, or for it to finally scamper off into the woods. Thankfully, no one came up behind me the entire time I sat there happily watching this tiny squirrel run back and forth without a care in the world to stop it.
Finally! As I was looking at actually being late for an appointment the cute little thing decided it had entertained me long enough, and off into the woods at the side of the road it went. With a final chuckle and a shake of my head, with a smile a mile wide upon my face, I began to move forward again, heading for my original destination. Instantly and with no warning, this tiny body hurled itself back into the roadway and directly under the tire of my vehicle! I actually felt sick! Here was this adorable creature that moments ago I was identifying with, enjoying watching immensely and with NO desire to do so whatsoever I had run it over and killed it!
I could and had controlled what I was in charge of – my actions and my heart held no malice toward the squirrel. Unfortunately I had no control over this bitty creature and its own action led it directly to an untimely death. I felt bad, truly, but not guilty, and not a sorrow I couldn’t overcome, for I had done “the right thing” that I could do.
I’ve seen this happen with people, and that’s why I tell this story to encourage others! As long as we act responsibly and lovingly toward people in the areas WE have control over – we mustn’t try to also be responsible for those who refuse to act responsibly or who choose actions that lead to sorrowful circumstances in their lives. Each of us is responsible for our decisions, our behaviors, our actions and even our thoughts. As parents, we raise our youngsters and teach all we can, and then comes the time our children become responsible for themselves. Hard to let go, but it is the right thing to do.
Whether a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a parent or a child – there are times when we do all that we can possibly do to HELP and NOT HARM others, we are careful what we say, yet someone is offended, we are as gentle as we can possibly be and still someone is pained by our action, we behave in the best possible way, yet they take action we have no control over and suffer consequences. We may feel pain for their circumstances but we are not responsible for their actions.
Truth sets us free, and THIS truth will free you from false guilt feelings! We need to remember this, because too many people are running around screaming about being the “victim” of others! There is such a sad lack of personal accountability. I did everything I could to avoid hurting that cute little squirrel. Unfortunately, it did something I could not control and the consequence was severe. I feel bad, but NOT GUILTY!
Are there areas of your life you need to let go of unwarranted guilt? Words to consider.
And MERRY CHRISTMAS from Turn the Tide Ministries!