CHAPTER 17

“That's None of Your Business.”

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Criminals with this thinking error are good at pointing out others’ problems, giving feedback on the faults of others, but want you to mind your own business when it comes to your offering advice on their own issues.  When everyone else is talking about personal subjects, they will typically hang back and not contribute, change the subject, give vague or evasive answers, or decide this is a good time to get up and leave. 

They’re usually a little on edge in a group, because they don’t know when the attention might turn to them, and uncomfortable questions arise.  They become touchy and defensive when people try to ask about their lives.  They even clam up when asked for details about themselves that most people would share freely with anyone – like what kind of movies they like, or what they did or where they were last week.  This tendency to keep things close to the chest may have started in childhood, when they got proficient at covering up family problems such as an alcoholic father or physical abuse, and it just became second nature by adulthood.

Such a person also lies by omission; they don’t give you the full story.  For example, they might defend themselves by saying, “I didn't lie. I said I wasn't at work on Friday. I just didn't tell you I was fired for being late again.”  Or you might hear, “That’s stupid.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.“ But they decline to give you the rest of the information you need to make an informed judgment about a situation. 

Such people are usually also emotionally closed off, and don’t allow themselves to be affected by your needs or desires. If fact, they may be downright cold and unfeeling.  They can be emotionally abusive, manipulative, controlling, and passive-aggressive.
 
Erecting a protective shell about themselves, and keeping their personal plans private, are elements of the secretive nature of a criminal. If you simply accept it as an integral part of their personality, it gives them the freedom to do as they wish without argument.

One spiritual issue with this character trait is that they may also have closed themselves off from God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  They are unable to allow themselves to be transparent with God about their sins, or draw close to Him. They have never experienced “the peace that passes all understanding.” Scripture doesn’t comfort them, and your prayers bore them.  But they know something is missing.

1. If believe the older brother of the prodigal son was somewhat like this.  He wasn’t a criminal – he stayed home and did everything his father asked. But I find it strange that he was all by himself during the first part of the story. Read Luke 15.
  a) What was the older son doing when his younger brother returned home?
   
  b) What did he hear when he came home at the end of the day, tired and dusty?
   
   

Did you ever wonder why no one had run out to the field to give the owner’s son the exciting news about his younger brother and the party? Perhaps he had distanced himself from other people, rebuffed their efforts to be friendly, and they had learned it was best to just leave him alone unless absolutely necessary.

  c) Why did his father come out to speak to him in verse 25?
   
  d) Do the scriptures let us know if the older son attended the party?
   
  e) It’s easy to see ourselves as the prodigal son, but have you ever compared yourself to the older brother? It’s all a matter of focus. The father’s focus was on his prodigal son, and the younger son's focus was on his father. On what was the older son’s focus fixed?
   
  f) On what is the closed-off person’s mind fixed?
   
  g) To correct this thinking error, on what should the closed-off, “mind your own business” type of person focus?
   

2. David knew how it was to feel distant from God and others.  He probably would have related to the older brother.  Share some of what he was feeling in these verses.
  a) Psalm 13:1
   
   
  b) Psalm 22:1
   
   

3. Jesus experienced this when He said ... (Matthew 27:46)
 

4. Even those of us are not the “closed off” personality type may feel periods of spiritual loneliness as Jesus did.  But as we learn to draw closer to God, we will find ourselves able to draw closer to others as well.  Every relationship takes time to develop. You have to spend time with someone before you can take that relationship deeper and feel free to open up with him/her. It’s no different in our relationship with the Lord.

How can we get closer to God?

  a) Meet with God first thing in the morning, and talk to Him about your plans for the day (pray). Name some heroes in the Bible who spent time alone with God in prayer.
    i) Gen. 21:33:
     
      He planted a grove so that he would have a secluded place where he could pour out his heart before God.
    ii)  Gen. 24:63:
     
    iii) Exodus 24:14-15:
     
    iv) 1 Samuel 1:9-13:
     
    v) Daniel 6:10:
     
    g) Mark 6:46:
     
    h) Acts 10:9:
     
  b) Get into God’s Word every day.
    i) We need nourishment from God’s Word to grow.  “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by ... (Matthew 4:4)
     
    ii) If we draw near God in His Word, He will ... (James 4:8)
     
    iii) The Word is our best defense against ... (Ephesians 6:13)
     
    iv) Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by ... (Romans 10:17)
     
    v) We need to be corrected when we sin.  Job 6:24 says, “
     
  c) Just mediate. God speaks about meditation in several places throughout the Bible, encouraging us to get quiet, and just think about His Word. Our thoughts determine our behavior, and so what we think about is very important.
    i) When are we to meditate? (Psalm 1:2)
     
    ii) On what are we to mediate? (Joshua 1:8)
     
    iii) What are we to be thinking about while we are meditating? (Philippians 4:8)
      (1) (5)
      (2) (6)
      (3) (7)
      (4) (8)
    iv) What are some benefits of meditating on God's Word? (Jeremiah 31:33)
     
     

5. Would might you suggest as a first step to someone who is completely closed off, operating under the “That’s None of Your Business” thinking error?
 

Continue to Chapter 18

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