The Blame Game

“The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord.” Proverbs 19:3

I was smart enough to make excuses, and hurt enough to hold a grudge.

Think about that statement for a moment. The first part is really the easy one. We all have the ability, within our own minds, to shift our perceptions, talk ourselves into things and rationalize away anything we want. So long as we have the necessary information we can alter our perception and mindset enough to justify or explain away anything. This is a thing of the mind.

The second part of this statement is the more difficult one, because it is a thing of the heart. When we are hurt, our vision clouds over, our perception shifts and we often find ourselves seeking a means of defense. It is natural, we want to defend ourselves against the thing that is hurting us. We work to identify what hurts us, and we flee from it.

After my moment of salvation I returned to church. I was baptized and began studying the Word, digging deeper into this new thing in my life and in my heart. I was amazed by the thought that there was a God, a loving Father, who wanted me to have a better life, a transformed life, fueled and guided by His Perfect Love. In my study and time with the Bible I found incredible hope and faith. Within the doors of the church I attended, I did not.

I came to God from a suicide attempt and a divorce. In my past was abuse and hurt, loss and struggle. The Bible told me of a Lord who loved me and who would take me in whatever state, rebuild me, a God who loved me even though I was unworthy. Then, on Sunday morning, for Bible study and service, I would start to catch the sidelong glances. I thought I was paranoid and so I kept moving on.

The old joke goes that it’s not paranoia if everyone is our to get you. The same applies for judgement. People in church loved that I was saved, but many of them expressed concerns about my divorce, about my past and told me that it would be a hindrance to my relationship with God. Basically they all told me that what I was reading and learning was bull. In short, I wasn’t good enough.

It’s not their fault. I made a decision. I could have raised my hand and asked why, could have cited the Scripture and all of those moments where God told me I was good enough, but I was also harboring something deeper. I was blaming God.

Deep down I blamed God for all that had gone wrong in my life. The abuse I suffered, the bad breaks, issues with substances and the way I was living my life all were, in my mind, to be blamed on the One in charge of it all. These folks were just more proof of that in my mind. I couldn’t even find refuge in God’s house. Instead I found ridicule because He didn’t care. I will never forget the day that I looked at my alarm one Sunday morning, turned it off and rolled over in my bed.

The truth is I was hurt. I was broken and I was angry about it.

People had hurt me.

Let me say that again.

People had hurt me. By their own actions and their own choices they had caused me pain, as I am certain I have caused to others. God was not driving them to do it, they have free will and the ability to do what they want, just like I could turn my back on God. After turning away from the Lord, I spent years running around, drinking, wasting my time, seeking to glorify myself through anything and everything. My struggle with depression got worse, I entered into seriously unhealthy relationships and I was generally trying to finish the job I had started but God interfered with.

Why?

Because I was mad at God for my own actions. I blamed a Father who loved me, who wanted me back in His embrace, even though I was angry and lashing out, even though I decried Him and turned my back.

He should have stopped it, should have protected me from all of this and showed me the way He had for me. He should have. Why wasn’t I good enough to be happy? Why was nothing really fulfilling? It was all His fault for not helping me, not taking care of me. He was as bad as my own parents.

And there's the rub. I put the blame for people who made their own decisions on someone whose fault it wasn’t, God’s. My parents were as lost as me. Those bad relationships were with people who were angry and broken, lost and alone, lashing out at the world the same way I was. I was with them by choice, my choice. I broke my life, hurt my heart and tried to snuff out my gift to hurt my Father.

The same Father who showed me the way, this year, when I was about to revisit that gun. The same God who showed me my way, reignited my passion, my purpose and my gift after I had been such a rebellious and petulant child. Over the years I tried to hurt myself in order to hurt my God, and He waited to bring me back with loving arms. He did not harm me, did not scold me, He opened his arms and welcomed me home, happy that I was back with Him.

It is important that, as we progress through this story, you understand that God sent a wave, like he did with Jonah. The wave was me. I decided and walked the wrong path, these things you will read about were all done by me and my choices, for good and bad. I am neither the hero or the villain, I am just a human being. To quote my godfather, “The best among us is at best a man.”

I do not play the blame game with God now. We are all accountable for our actions. All He does is give us the things we want, the things we reach for. To this day I don’t fully understand that, but understanding is not given in a moment, or a single day, it is earned and developed over a lifetime. This is not to say we are evil or horrible, that our choices have destroyed us and annihilated any hope we have to be with Him. That was what some people in one place told me, and I ran with it. He told me and showed me that He loves me regardless and wants me home.

Still, before I was here I walked a shadowed path…