From Jim O'Brien
May 27, 2016

Hi Friend,

Locus of Control

Most Americans know the story of Todd Beemer, one of the passengers on Flight 93 that was hijacked by evil terrorists on September 11, 2001. It was the only flight that did not make it to its destination because one man, Todd Beemer, recognized that the "locus of control" still remained with him.

The other passengers were trapped, victims of the terrorists! There was no way out. The movie Flight 93 quotes Todd Beemer as saying "No one outside the plane is going to help us. It's up to us to do something." It was a defining realization that any opportunity to thwart the hijackers was within the plane.

Psychologists see this as changing the perception of where the "locus of control" resides. Where is the location of control in your life? Healthy people have an internal control center. Unhealthy people perceive themselves as being controlled externally. As Paul wrote "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13).

In other words, a healthy person takes ownership of his life. When you own a car you can wash it, repair it or let it deteriorate. You may view God as the owner of all your possessions but you know He gave you stewardship of the items in your house. That means you are responsible for what happens to your life. You're not just responsible for whether you practice the piano, you are responsible for whether you can play the piano.

During WWII the Nazis committed such heinous crimes that the world held court against the offenders. The experience added a new term to our vocabulary, the "Nuremburg Defense." It means the defendant "was only following orders." The London Charter of the International Military Tribunal determined no such defense was acceptable. They wrote, "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law...."

The ultimate responsibility for actions rests with the person acting.

There is a growing trend in our world of victimization where self-control is a fading virtue. But convincing a man that he is a victim seduces him to believe he is under the control of an external force. It makes him a slave, whether the master is cigarettes, alcohol, junk food or the welfare state.

Slaves wait for something to act on them. And then they react. Successful people don't just react to life-they initiate things. They don't simply reflect the world around them. They become a source of life. Jesus referred to such people when He said "He who believes in Me...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) Such people do not see themselves as victims but as participants to influence a positive outcome.

It is a little frightening to take responsibility for life. But it wasn't until Todd Beemer and fellow passengers took responsibility for themselves that evil men could be stopped.

English statesman Edmund Burke once said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

In this life there will always be evil men but God has provided a group called "the elect" that fearlessly stand in the gap to defend against evil.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien