Happy weekend friends! This is meant to be encouraging, so bear with me. See those words up there?👆🏻They popped up no less than three times in my various little social feeds the other day, and kept poking at me, like a little pebble in my shoe. Now I’m not going to get all crazy, I understand these things are meant to help people, but can I just say… this really annoyed me.
I am aware that in certain circles words like this flow like honey, and are received with gladness. The self-help crowds are a funny bunch, they absolve themselves from taking responsibility for their troubles while simultaneously placing some pretty heavy burdens on themselves to fix those very same troubles. Do you see it? “It’s not your fault you’re in this hole… but it’s up to you to dig yourself out.” How empowering.
Before I go further, let me clarify: Awful things happen to everyone at some point that are out of our control, as a result of sin or just living in a fallen world. It’s part of being alive. It’s just that ever since we as a society decided “anything goes” we don’t seem to be able to deal with the consequences very well. The pendulum has swung so very far in the direction of “it’s not your fault” that we have lost any sense of true sin or our need to be rescued from it.
I saw this commercial one day on tv and nearly choked on my coffee:
This was no joke, it was an ad for a law firm explaining that if you were prescribed a certain medication for depression and developed a gambling habit that wrecked your life they can clear that all up for you. It’s not your fault!
To avoid getting into the weeds here, I just would like to ask: does it necessarily matter who is at fault? Sometimes it does I suppose. When you find yourself hurt and lost and in a hole, does it really matter who put you there? I think of the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8. Jesus didn’t condemn her, but He did tell her to stop walking in darkness and sin no more. It was the same for the Samaritan woman at the well, He called her out for living with a man who was not her husband and offered her something better. Like a fine surgeon, Jesus focused on the problem at hand and dealt with it. No need for emotional craziness about who did what and how… He addressed the problem and offered a way out.
I find this incredibly refreshing. For those who choose to feel victimized and condemned all the time I would say you are not meeting the real Jesus, but the enemy himself. Jesus came not to condemn, but to convict and free us from the chains of our sin. The wound may not be your fault, but what a dangerous door that attitude opens up. Literally:
This is on a door at some university… the door to a cry closet. You guys… this is real life. “Its not your fault.” Notice the hashtag option as well, very key. Go advertise this, because of course, that will help. The wound is not your fault. Imagine a doctor telling a gunshot victim “well, this isn’t your fault, so… go on home and think on that.” No, we go to a doctor for help and healing, regardless if our wound is our fault or not.
Which brings me to the second part of our happy mantra: your healing is your responsibility. Honestly, is there anything sadder than the idea that we have to go figure out our own healing?
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by god and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities… and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah: 53:4
…”casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
The world tells suggests to hashtag our issues, medicate our troubles, and blame them on everyone else. Jesus laid down His life that we may be free of the chains of sin. John 8:32 tells us it’s the truth that makes us free, but only the truth we know… it isn’t a system to be deciphered, but a living person and power to be experienced.
These messages aren’t the end of the world, (although I think a cry closet at a university just might be). Taken in large quantities over and over again they slowly erode the living Words of God and cause our thinking to shift away from Jesus and onto self. Friends, we aren’t alone, and we don’t have to dig ourselves out. Sometimes it is our fault, but we have a savior that doesn’t pound that guilt into the ground. He asks us to turn from doing things our way and surrender to His way.
There was a song we used to sing to the kids when they were little, and it rings true for all of us: “Be careful little eyes what you see… be careful little ears what you hear…” Not all messages are helpful and some very sweet-sounding words are all sugar. Don’t make a steady diet out of short lived memes, but feast on Gods words, the bread of life, the living water and see how satisfying they can be.