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December 29, 2010 / joelmalm

The Road Less Traveled. Part 3

Everything is my fault ——————————————— Nothing is my fault

You live somewhere on the line between those two statements.  I camp out on the left side and tend to blame myself for everything.  If someone is having a problem, I can figure out some part I had in bringing that suffering.   For those of you pitching your tent in my campground, welcome.

The hard part for folks on the East Side of this continuum is that you probably don’t realize you live there.  And if you do,  it’s because you are a victim.  Folks who think everything is someone else’s fault always feel like helpless victims.

We all find ourselves on one section of the continuum at any given point.  We all go back and forth between different sides when it comes to accepting responsibility.  Since the fall of man we have never been what we are supposed to be.   We all lean to one extreme or the other.  The challenge is figuring out what you are truly responsible for.

Acceptance of responsibility is not only the path to healthy living – it’s the path to eternal living.  Jesus paid the price for your wickedness.  All the jealousy, hatred, anger and lust that are in your heart have been forgiven.  The key to accessing that forgiveness is accepting responsibility.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Ever noticed how hard it is to just confess that you messed up?  You know you made the mistake and so does everyone around you, but you think you can convince people you really didn’t do it.  I spend enormous amounts of energy trying to escape the inevitability of admitting I messed up.  I often justify in my mind how that mistake was really someone else’s fault.  “They didn’t give me all the information I needed.”  When I am not blaming someone else I will often over-blame myself.

So here’s a life changing truth:  Most people are very forgiving if you will just be honest about your mistake and accept responsibility.  People understand we aren’t perfect and we all make mistakes.  What people can’t stand is someone who fails to own up to their error.

A first step in learning to accept responsibility to fess up when you mess up.  Confess your mistake quickly.  Be honest about what you are responsible for.  After all, you aren’t fooling anyone.

Another element of accepting responsibility is stewardship – doing the best you can with what you’ve been given.  You are responsible for your life.  Regardless of your upbringing or troubled past, you will only give account to God for what you did with what you were given.  Stop looking around at things you have no control over and start managing the things you do have the ability to influence.  It’s amazing the divine chain reaction that begins to happen when you start taking your responsibility for what God has given you seriously.

Eternal and abundant life are waiting for those who are brave enough to accept responsibility.



Leave a Comment
  1. Sarah / Dec 29 2010 1:14 pm

    Joel these postings are so very serious–i would like to hear your thoughts on something happy 🙂 like the price of doughnuts or how short some yellow lights seem in Corpus…:) just a suggestion

    • joelmalm / Dec 29 2010 1:31 pm

      Hi Sarah,
      Yes, discipline is serious stuff! I am reminding myself more than anything as I have quite a few goals this year and feel like I need a kick in the tail. I will lighten up soon 🙂

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