You Are Your Own Worst Enemy


I am my own worst enemy. And so are you. Your own worst enemy - that is. That doesn't mean you don't have external opposition, trouble-makers or nay-sayers in your life. You do have such people. Most of us do. They make life harder than it needs to be. They hold you back and hold you down. They hinder, harm and hurt you.
 
But the outside opposition pales in comparison to your much greater enemy. And that greater enemy is YOU.
 
The cartoon character Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." This was not a new idea. Philosophers, politicians and others, through the centuries, have said this in various ways.
 
 
 "Man's chief enemy is his own unruly nature and the dark forces put up within him." Ernest Jones
 
"Our greatest evils flow from ourselves."   Jean Jacques Rousseau
 
"The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities."  Sophocles
 
"Formidable is that enemy that lies hid in a man's own heart."   Publilius Syrus
 
"Yet is every man his own greatest enemy, and as it were his own executioner." Sir Thomas Browne
 
 
And in this, they were shaped by the biblical testimony about the fallen human nature, about the source of our woes - the deceitful heart.
 
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9
 
 
Just this past weekend, I heard a speaker say, "You can't do anything about their choices  ________ (fill in the blank), but you can do something about your own choices." I don't want to go quite so far as to say you can't ever do anything about the bad choices of others, but he was right on, in putting the focus on one's own response.
 
Whenever I have responded poorly to someone who has hurt me, it turns out that I am my "own worst enemy" and what I do to myself is far worse than what they do to me. 
 
Attend to your own inner issues… discern your own errors… turn to God for help, healing and transformation… be vigilant about your own tendenciy to engage in self-destructive behaviors… and make good choices. (NOTE:  And the particular best choice will, of course, vary greatly in different situations). I'll finish up with one of my favorite verses from the Bible.
 
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Proverbs 4:23
 
 
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org