I have had an opportunity to watch and listen to a number of individuals over the years who have had to deal with pretty serious difficulties, jump a number of daunting hurdles, and go through their share of fiery hoops. Some went through these periods with faith and bravery, counting their blessings and holding on to the lessons learned, being made better having gone through the struggles. I have watched others who, instead of weathering the heavy storms that came their way, chose to embrace the struggles.
These individuals became pessimists, purposefully feeding on negativity. They are no longer able to count their blessings or embrace any lessons learned by what they endured. Their heart and mind has a vice grip on the negative things they bore, refusing to let go. They dwell on what they didn’t get and don’t have, failing to embrace what they did get and what they do have. They are, as James 1:8 states, double-minded and unstable in all their ways. In the morning it’s “God is able” or “God is so good”, but when evening comes its “woe is me,” and “God is against me,” etc… These individuals contradict the Word of God without even realizing it. They add a “sometimes” or “not always” to what God says in His Word about Himself and His loving care for His people. I have witnessed this in those young and old. I have seen young adults talk 19 to the dozen about faith and what God will do. Then, the minute they are hit with financial difficulty or some other life issue they forget every word they’ve said. Unable to recall their own encouraging words, they become fearful, depressed, angry or worse. They fail to realize their own double-mindedness, especially after they have pointed out this very thing in someone else. What causes this wonky mindset in professing believers? What hinders these individuals from having a stable faith in God? There can be a number of things I’m sure, but one has been handed down to humanity through Adam.
The blame game
Genesis 3 opens with Eve conversing with the serpent about violating God’s command. Eve makes the decision to disobey and eats the forbidden fruit. Adam, who was with her, listens and decides to eat the forbidden fruit. After Adam eats God comes to call and they’re faced with the consequences of a bad decision. When God asks about what they had done, Adam blames God and the woman blames the serpent. Neither of them took full responsibility for their actions. To this day people tend to look for someone to blame for the predicaments they find themselves in.
I have come to realize that one of the biggest hindrances to true faith in God is failure to accept responsibility for our decisions and actions. In the individuals I have observed who are trapped in the mire of pessimism, negativity, and double-mindedness there is a failure or refusal to accept responsibility for their decisions. Instead they blame God for their life’s circumstances. They blame God because things did not turn out the way they feel they should have. They blame God for not intervening. Coupled with this is a spirit of entitlement. Many feel they “did everything right” and, therefore, should have had life in their favor – complete with everything they had their hearts set on. These individuals can take hours explaining how God coulda/shoulda done this or that for them, but can only begrudgingly count on one hand or less what God has done and is doing for them. The problem, in my opinion, is clear; you will not TRUST the one you consider responsible for everything wrong in your life.
Facing the truth
If we cannot accept responsibility for our actions we will blame God and anyone else we can for our struggles and problems. In order to truly walk with God we must unload the lies we carry. We must embrace the truth. I will give you a personal example.
By the time I was 15 I had my future mapped out. I knew what college I was going to, what degree I wanted and what job I wanted. I knew what I was going to be doing by the age of 24. By the age of 24 I had planned to buy my mom and myself a house. I was going to be single, make good money, have a hefty savings account, and a take my time visiting every state in the country etc… I mean I had my road map and travel plans set! Then came the health problems, and I ended up having to get my GED instead of graduate high school. Still determined, I started college at 17. Then my dad left (my parents have 8 children; I am the oldest). Hmmmm, decisions decisions. I made the decision to stop school and run the house so my mom could work. During this time I was told that my family was not my responsibility and I should leave! When I was 18 I was given an opportunity to move to another state and “go on with my life.” I chose not to. I know most of my siblings, if not all, would have jumped at the opportunity and left. I, however, could not. It was my choice. And everything I’ve had to endure, every setback I have had that came directly because of that decision is a consequence that I have to accept. It is not God’s fault that I am now 43 and most of my life’s plan has been thrown to the wind. I could choose to blame God for all of my troubles. I could choose to dwell on the what ifs and the coulda/shoulda/woulda’s. I choose not to because it is unproductive to do so; it will only keep my mind and heart in a place of stagnation, depression, and faithlessness. I have to accept the truth that my life now is a direct consequence of the choices I made 20 plus years ago. To use the stronger term, It is My Fault.
Many times the truths we have to embrace will be hard. It is not easy to look yourself in the eye and say, for example, “it is my fault I’m struggling at 80 years old because I was stupid when I was 20.” Or, “it is my fault I did not pursue the path I wanted in life because I was afraid.” Even if we made certain choices in complete ignorance, we must acknowledge the fact that we did not ask God, we did not seek wise counsel; we took advice from fools, and are now suffering the consequences of our own decisions. We cannot blame God for our blockheadedness or because we chose to let people direct our path instead of Him. I am not saying that along the way we have not been hindered by others or allowed to be tested. What I am saying is through it all, we must remain honest with ourselves and accept the part we played in our life’s situation. We must accept the truth that what we have gone through or are dealing with now in no way changes the truth of God’s Word.
I have learned that there is more than one way to contradict God’s Word. The Bible says the just (believers) shall live by faith (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38). This faith in God is a thing of dogged pursuit. The choice is ours and so will the consequences be.
Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 28:26; Proverbs 19:3; Job 1:20-22; Job 13:15; James 1:2-4,12; James 1:21-22; John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 4:4;Ecclesiastes 5:2
Chat About It!
In our heart and mind, is God worthy to be blamed or to be praised?
Have you had to face some hard truths regarding your life choices?
Do you need to do some soul searching?
Are you holding unjust grudges against God?