The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up. (John C. Maxwell)
As I was raising my children, one of the most important lessons I believed they needed to learn was that of taking responsibility for their actions. Perhaps they didn't always appreciate the significance of this lesson, but I think it has served them well in their adult years. There are many of us that go through life attempting to shift responsibility from one place to another because making it our own is kind of uncomfortable at times and downright hard! We like the comfort of shifting blame, but does that really bring us any comfort? Not if you consider the weight of guilt blame-shifting places on your shoulders! Have you ever heard someone say, "You made me do it", or perhaps, "I have this bad attitude because you did that..."? Our attitude is OUR responsibility - it isn't dependent upon how another responds, what circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment, or even if it is a 'good hair day'. It squarely rests on our shoulders - no amount of 'blaming others' will ever change the attitude we have chosen.
Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. (Philippians 2:3-5)
If we choose the right attitude, we can master the right responses in life! The attitude of Christ was to put others first - not to make himself look good all the time. He didn't consider the ridicule of the Pharisee religious leaders of the day to be something that he'd dwell upon, or let it affect his response to those in need around him. Instead, he pressed on. He created a positive culture, not allowing others to 'dump on him', nor did he dump on others. Was he always a rule-follower? I think he may have been, but he wasn't afraid to challenge the 'rules' that didn't make sense. When money-changers set up tables in the temple to exchange the currency of those who would travel from afar to offer their yearly offerings and special offerings, he challenged them. Why? They had adopted an attitude of greed - taking a 'cut' of the money exchange as their own. There would have been a great deal of temptation to not 'upset the apple cart' since it didn't really seem anyone was getting 'significantly hurt' by this exchange. Yet, Jesus isn't willing to 'leave well enough alone'.
He may have seemed upset (angry even) to the onlookers, but in fact, he chose the right attitude - he was protecting God's people. Anywhere between 300,000 and 400,000 Jews came to the Temple each Passover season. That was a huge chunk of change for these money-changers, knowing that the Greek and Roman coinage would have to be exchanged into the Jewish shekels in order to buy their offerings. Many of these thousands would have been poor or 'lower-income' individuals. To lose even a small portion of their funds was significant to them. So, in choosing to cleanse the Temple of these money-changers, Jesus was actually saying he valued the people he came to redeem. The choice we make in exhibiting the right attitude is entirely ours - the motivation for the attitude coming from deep within our heart. If we align our heart with Christ, our attitude should be pretty 'right-on', my friends. Just sayin!