Why is it that we, humans, tend to blame our faults on everyone else? And often the one we blame is God. "Why did God allow this to happen?" "What is God doing?" "God could have stopped it." "God has already forgiven me, so why is this happening?"

Seriously, isn't it about time that we took responsibility for ourselves? When we stand before God He isn't going to say "Why did you do such-and-such?" Frankly, He already knows why we do what we do. He is simply going to reward us according to the things we did, regardless of the "reasons."

Our four-year-old daughter is forever telling her older brother to do the things she knows are not allowed. She figures this way, he'll get into trouble and she'll get away with it. Well, when Jerry is being corrected for something he did, he often uses the excuse, "But, Josie told me to do it." As if that alone justifies him. Of course, we tell him in no uncertain terms that he isn't being punished for what his sister said, but for his decision to disobey our rules.

I HATE the word "but." Have you ever tried to justify your actions without using that word? All of a sudden its not so easy to blame others. "But, I ..." These are Jerry's favorite words. Take away the word "but" and your left with "I..." All of a sudden the blame switches from a reaction to a choice.

All of us have made decisions in our past that we regret. Some before we were saved and some after salvation. We cannot change the past. God in His mercy has promised forgiveness in I John 1:9. Yet, forgiveness does not mean that there will be no consequences.

In the story of the rich man who forgave the poor man's debt, the forgiveness did not remove the debt. You see there was still a sum of money that was lost to the rich man. Sometimes others pay the price for our sin and sometimes we still bear the scars.

When this happens we need to first SEEK and ACCEPT God's forgiveness. Then we need to seek the forgiveness of those who face the consequences of what we've done. Finally, we need to forgive ourselves. I posted an article on forgiveness the other day which said,

"Forgiveness is an act of the will in which a person relinquishes any "right" to get even with an offender. It does not necessarily have anything to do with "feeling" that the person has been forgiven. Again, it is an act of the will, relinquishing the "right" to "get even."

This applies to our own selves as well as to others. Most often we refuse to relinquish the right to "make things right" (to get even) with ourselves. We re-hash what is already done and cannot be changed. If we are to have victory over the past, we must let God make things right. God promises to work ALL things together for our good and His glory. "Let go and let God" is what my father always says. Letting go means "I no longer seek to control the outcome of what I have done."

Christians live defeated lives because we choose it... not because it was chosen for us. My mother was abused as a child and because of this, she has struggled with a mistrust of others. One thing I have always admired about her is that she never used this as an excuse for her own choices. Yes, humanly speaking, her past has affected her judgement, but she knows that God has given her the choice and she is responsible, not for what others have done to her, but for what she chooses to do to others.

She taught us that bad things happen because people choose to sin against God and most of the time innocent people get caught up in the struggle. Each of us has a responsibility to allow God to use those circumstances for His glory and not as an excuse to sin against Him. Statistics say that if one is abused, they are more likely to abuse others. My mother has proven that this is a choice and not a fact.

It is time to face up to our choices and leave "But" out of it. Once we have chosen to accept God's forgiveness, forgiven those who have wronged us, and sought the forgiveness of those we hurt, we MUST forgive ourselves -- "Relinquish the right to "get even."

Have you been holding onto guilt? Have you been using unforgiveness as a safe-guard against pain? Do you keep re-visiting the past and taking hold of your "right" to control the outcome?

Claim victory today, and let God show His strength in your weakness. ---



Deborah said...

Amen! Too often people blame their past for their present, and are often encouraged to do so in today's society, but at some point, even a child must realize that they are responsible for the choices they make.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I happen to flutter by. Thank you for this, it speaks to my heart. For years, I've been shunning the thought of having children. I'm not sure of my ability to love them, due to the fact that I've been brought up abused by mom. I'm all too sure that I have this dark side like mom even though I can never agree to the way I was treated. But then, I'm given a choice. I'm sure the Lord will enable me, and He has spoken to me through this. I shan't blame or 'explain' my wrongs by putting it on others' head, I know that this is God's issue for me and I'll just have to rely on His wisdom to deal with it.

You ought to be so proud of your mom. An abused person like her being able to correct things even she's gone though distorted days. It must be so difficult to provide love while not knowing what it is, all the more I admire her.

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