Read Proverbs 19
Featured Verse: Proverbs 19:3
“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.”
If you’re a part of the human race (if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you are), you’ve just got that “blame somebody else” gene coiled tight and ready to spring. It’s our national pastime as human beings, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.
I like the way the Message translates Proverbs 19:3—it doesn’t get much plainer than this:
People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?
Have you ever known anyone to blame God when their mess was the result of their own foolishness? No exaggeration—I meet people on a weekly basis who do that. Perhaps you’d have to admit that even you’ve been guilty of pointing the finger at God?
Have you ever overspent, or exercised poor financial management, or purchased something you couldn’t afford then blamed God for a bank account that won’t pay the bills?
Have you neglected the spiritual disciplines—Bible reading, prayer, worship, regular church attendance—then wondered why God doesn’t seem to speak to you in times of distress?
Have you withheld your tithe and then blamed God for the loss of a job, or unhappiness in your vocation, or a rotten work environment?
Have you been undisciplined in eating, sleeping and exercising, then been upset when God didn’t give you a physical healing?
Have you ever allowed a negative personality trait to go unchecked and then wondered why God doesn’t give you close friends or help you sustain a dating relationship or find a mate?
My guess is that some of you reading this about right now are getting mad at me. But raging against me, or God or blaming anybody other than yourself is risky business! It’s counter-productive to your personal growth. It enslaves you in a perpetual cycle of victimhood. It keeps you from exercising the one ability that makes you the highest order of God’s creation: personal responsibility. It keeps you from becoming all that God intends you to be!
You’ll notice two key words in that verse. The first one is the word “ruin”. In the Hebrew, it’s salap, which means to distort, twist, or pervert. It means to twist the facts or distort reality, and it leads to clouding one’s ability to think clearly. If you’re in the habit of casting blame against God, you’ll end up with twisted thinking and lose touch with what’s truly going on.
The second one is the word “rages”. In the Hebrew, it’s za ep, which means to fume or to storm. It was used to describe breathing hard or blowing, like a storm blowing in and raging. If you’re a blamer, your twisted thinking will cause you to rage unreasonably against the wrong object.
If that’s the case with you, quit raging against God, or others, and get mad enough at your own foolish behavior that it leads you to take ownership of it and do something about it. That’s taking personal responsibility. Whenever you do that, you are on your way to growth, health and the blessed life.
And that’s a good thing.
“Aristotle’s answer was simple: Men do not become virtuous simply by precept but by ‘nature, habit, rational principle. We become just by the practice of just actions, self-controlled by exercising self-control.’ Recognizing our own responsibility and the need to stop blaming others is the first step toward dismantling the culture of victimization.” ~Charles Sykes
Winning At Life:
Do you have a trusted and honest friend? I hope so. Ask them if you have any character deficits for which you are not taking personal responsibility. Here’s the rule of thumb for this kind of activity: Whatever they say—believe them. And then take action!