My conscience is clear, but that isn’t what matters. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. - 1 Corinthians 4:4
There was a time in my life when I held myself responsible for every bad thing that happened. I used to take personal responsibility for trouble in the women’s work at church (I should have known what to do), the breakdown of other’s marriages (I should have given them better marriage advice), and even our golden retriever’s bad behavior in the neighborhood. Yes, I even took blame for the dog!
When we allow ourselves to play the blame-yourself game, the ensuing guilt dries up the soul, withers the spirit, and makes for depression. Don’t do it. As Paul put it, to let it be a very small thing to be judged by others. In fact, he says he didn’t even trust his own judgment about himself. He kept a clear conscience and would let the Lord show him the truth.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t own what is ours. As a young mother trying to be patient with my children, it was easy to blame the little imps for my impatience and irritation. However, I learned that the children did not create my mood, they simply revealed it. I couldn’t blame my children for my bad-tempered attitude—that was “my stuff” and I needed to deal with it. As Paul stated, God alone must judge each one of us. He will set the record straight. Some of us, however, need to stop taking responsibility for things that are not our stuff!
For Further Study: 1 Corinthians 4:1-7
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit tellingthetruth.org.