A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord. Proverbs 19: 3
We humans love to take credit when things are going well, don’t we? Oh, but when they are going badly, how we love to blame someone else! It’s not easy to accept responsibility when something goes wrong or when mistakes are made, is it?
Years ago, there was a comedy show in which a character was always quoting the line, “The devil made me do it! The devil made me do it!” It was humorous, and for quite a while afterwards, you would hear individuals jokingly reciting the line when they were doing something they knew they shouldn’t.
It’s human nature to want to put the blame on others when bad things occur in our lives so we don’t have to deal with the regret, guilt, or shame. And it’s even easier to want to blame God. We may find ourselves saying, “God, why would you let this happen to me, to my family or to someone I care about? But sometimes we can’t look any further than ourselves. There is no one else to blame!
God created us out of love and He wanted us to experience that same love and to share it with others. In order for us to do so, He gave us free will so we might choose whether to love or not to love, to follow Him or go our own way. Loving God or someone else is always a choice we consciously make. From the beginning of time, unfortunately, many have chosen to use that free will to reject God and to walk away from His truth and goodness. And because of that, evil has been interjected into our lives. Sometimes we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, and abusive. Our own irresponsibility, self-centeredness, or wickedness of heart can create a multitude of problems – for ourselves and for those around us.
And sometimes our decisions are just the result of foolish mistakes. No matter how much knowledge, wisdom, or godliness we have attained, we may still make bad choices and have to suffer the consequences of our actions. Often we wish that God would override our bad decisions, but even if we are faithful, godly individuals, we are not immune to earthly consequences.
But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t care. He sees all our anxiety, stress, and despair and wants us to come to Him. He can graciously give us the wisdom to deal with whatever we may be facing, if we ask Him, and He can always make something good come out of a difficult and painful situation.
These challenging times may occur because of the influence of others or the ways of the world, but either way, as this verse so clearly illustrates, we have to take responsibility for our own foolishness and bad choices. Our hearts may rage against God for allowing them to happen, but when we know it to be the result of our own folly, we should humble ourselves, make amends to others if possible, and accept God’s love and forgiveness. He can get us through whatever challenges life may bring. God is good and His mercy is everlasting.
Dear God, we sometimes don’t understand why painful things in life occur, but help us to understand when they are the result of our own choices. How often we fail to thank you for the good things, but how quickly we are willing to blame you for the bad. May we learn to look to you for the grace to accept each situation and the wisdom and strength to get through it. Thank you for your love and patience with us. Amen