What About Self-Control?


I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed. — Booker T. Washington

All the news nowadays seems to be about gun control.  Then there is weight control, controls on financial institutions, controls on immigration, all sorts of controls.  But nobody is talking about self-control.

Wouldn’t most of our problems be resolved if our citizens just exercised self-control?  It seems that everyone wants “individual freedom” which to them means I can do whatever the heck I want without regard to how their actions and attitudes effect the rest of us.

People killing other people is an obvious example.  There has been a lot of discussion about how these mass murderers have been mentally unbalanced. Isn’t that just another way of saying that they didn’t have any self-control?  Why are they the way they are?  How did they get that way?  I think one answer is that they are in an environment of low expectations and that the standard of acceptable behavior in this country has been degraded to the point that young people just don’t know and no one is taking the time to teach them acceptable standards and insisting on them following those standards.  Many of these people have been abandoned by their fathers and are growing up in single parent households.

But it’s not just mass killers.  What about obese substance abusing smokers?  That is less and less an extreme example.  They have individual freedom to eat, smoke and abuse whatever they want and there are people who would go to the wall to protect that freedom.  But their behavior entails a cost to the rest of us when their health suffers and they need expensive healthcare treatment for their diabetes, heart disease and drug rehab.  Many of these behaviors are being subsidized by the government (ie taxpayers).

We all know it’s true.  But the solution is not government regulation or controls.  The answer is encouraging a culture of self-control and service of fellow man. Self sacrifice for the good of others.

One way to gain self-control is be controlled by the Holy Spirit but our culture today more and more discourages a belief in and a reliance on the Holy Spirit. The bible in Galatians 5 discusses the fruit of the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

There you go, self-control.  And if everyone was exhibiting those other attributes or “fruit” we would have a lot less problems and wouldn’t we need far fewer “controls”?


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