“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.” – John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
If you step back to get an overview of the events that have transpired in our country over the last few months you will see the damaging results of people not reading the Bible and ordering their lives by it. The seeds of ungodliness produce some bad fruit. These seeds were planted by all races, classes, and genders of people – but they weren’t planted yesterday. They have been growing around us for decades. Now they have budded and the fruit is being harvested. The effects of anger, bitterness and strife are staring us right in the face.
James 1:20 (Weymouth Translation)
For a man’s anger does not lead to action which God regards as righteous.
James 3:16 (Amplified Bible)
For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.
Hebrews 12:14, 15 (The Message)
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.
A very destructive consequence of these behaviors is the attitude of victimization. Adam got this ball rolling for all mankind when he blamed both God and Eve for his predicament.
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Thus, the practice of blaming others was born. People look for someone else to blame for their circumstances, for how they feel, even for their own actions – he/she/the devil made me do it! God definitely gets His share of the blame: “I can’t help it, God made me this way.” Of course, some things are simply blamed on circumstances that were definitely out of our control: who our parents are, who are siblings are, where we were born, when we were born, our genetic make-up, and on and on. Then there is “the system.” Blame is placed on how it is rigged against people and it cannot be fought. All of these attitudes are evidence of victimhood. Such thoughts lead, not to faith, but to more complaining. The outcome is usually either, 1) an attempt to fight against the wrong in your own natural strength, which will drain your energy with few, if any, lasting results, or 2) the multiplication of life-stifling thoughts of just giving up.
There are definitely injustices and wrongs in this world – and some people have suffered far more than others. I cannot suppose how anyone should feel about any particular situation – even if I have experienced something similar. No one’s true feelings should be marginalized, yet everyone must learn how to properly process and deal with their feelings. The worst path to take, no matter the issue, no matter how you have been wronged, is to make yourself a victim. The problem with playing the victim is you give up control of your own life. Even if someone else truly caused you pain or an injustice, the more you dwell on that injustice the more you give control of your life to that person – and the less time you work on changing and improving your life.
No matter where you are, how you got there, who tried to keep you down or hold you back, until you decide to quit blaming outside forces for your circumstances you will never experience true freedom. So if placing the blame on others is out of bounds, what can you do? It may be hard, and it will definitely be enlightening, but you must examine yourself – you must ask yourself some difficult questions:
Did I do anything to create my dilemma?
Are my attitudes keeping me angry and bitter?
Have my words or actions harmed anyone?
Do I need to take the initiative and ask someone’s forgiveness?
What can I really change: my words, my attitudes, my actions?
What is beyond my power to change? I can engage other people, but I can’t change other people; I can learn from the past, but I can’t re-live the past.
The life of faith is a life of personal responsibility. If you will cooperate with God and His Word to change you, then you will be able to change the circumstances that are staring back at you. This is the life of an overcomer in Christ.
“Whining is not only graceless, but can be dangerous. It can alert a brute that a victim is in the neighborhood.” – Maya Angelou
1 Corinthians 10:10
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
The following paragraph was written by my friend, Pastor Virgil Stokes. I think this sums it up:
“Life is not ‘fair.’ My hand is determined by who designed the deck, by where I sat at the table, and by pure chance. I have little or no control over any of these things. I can control how I play the hand. Cursing the dealer only tells my opponents the weak nature of my hand.”