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I Only Have Myself to Blame

Do you ever meet those people who blame every one of their problems on someone or something else? In my years as a minister, I’ve heard it over and again: “Everyone else is always <fill in the blank>” or “Work is always <blank>” or “if I was given better chances, then I wouldn’t have <blank>.” Don’t get me wrong, there are things that happen to us in our past and done to us by other people that shape us, yet the truth remains: eventually, we have to take responsibility for our own circumstances. We may have had an abusive past, and were mistreated, sometimes very poorly, by those who should have protected us, we may have been hurt by others at school or work, yet in the end, when we all stand before God, we are going to be judged by the choices WE make, and how we respond to our circumstances, not by the people who harmed us or the circumstances themselves.

One might say “that’s not fair, how can you say that? People can’t help themselves.” And I would agree with you, on both counts: it’s not fair, and people can’t help themselves. It’s not fair to God that we continually push against him and his plan for us, and live in the world He created, and yet continually rebel against Him and demand our way (didn’t he tell Saul “It is hard for you to kick against the goads?” Acts 26:14). And, of course, people can’t help themselves. As much as we might try, we can’t make up for the wrong we have done, we’ll never be a good enough person, and becoming a better version of us is a self-destructive mess. We need help! And only Jesus can save us, and He sends the Helper, the Holy Spirt, to draw us deeper in to the Father through the words of Scripture.

In the end, if I have heard Jesus say “I never knew you, away from me you doer of lawlessness,” I only have myself to blame. I was in it for me. I either was the hero of my own story, or else a perpetual victim who didn’t accept the help of God. Loved ones, Jesus is the only way to the Father. We can’t rescue ourselves, nor can we stay in a state of perpetual victimhood. When we stand before God (see Revelation 20:11-15), we will either be judged according to the Law (our own actions), or according to the Lambs book of Life (the Righteous Actions of Christ). We only fall in to Christ’s righteousness when we surrender to Him and are born again through Him, given a new life and a new way in Him. If I am cast away forever, I only have myself to blame.

Revelation 20:11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

John 14

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

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