Monday, May 4, 2015

Job 34:31-32 -- On Looking Inward

"Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:
That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more."
Job 34:31-32

The story of Job is an interesting one that I think has a lot of lessons for us.  Overall, it helps us understand that bad things happening to us aren't always the result of wickedness.  It also gives us an amazing example of faith in the midst of tragedy.  I think that some of the value of the book also comes from the advice of Job's friends.  These verses are some of that advice, and even though Job hadn't actually done anything wrong to bring tragedy upon himself, his friends aren't sure of that, and one says that whatever the circumstances, it is always good to tell God that we are trying to learn, that we accept chastisement, that we are willing to learn.  That we understand that we can't see everything, and we're willing to change.
I think this is really good advice for us as well.  We are blind to our own failings sometimes.  That's not all bad... if we realized all of our failings consciously at all times, it might be a little depressing.  But going to the Lord and asking him to be able to see what we need to work on helps, because we are only asking to see the part we can do something about right now. :)
The huge idea here is that we need to look inward for solutions and causes.  When Christ told his disciples that one of them would betray him, they asked "Is it I?"  They first looked inward, trying to see if there was a fault there, and were worried about their own commitment.  We too often look outward when faced with a similar situation.  We try to convince ourselves and others that our sins are caused by someone else, and we are often successful at placing blame and even at having others accept it, since we all have doubts and fears.  Cain blamed Abel for not being accepted by the Lord, and thought getting him out of the way would help him.  We often think that our parents or our spouses or the circumstances of our birth, or genetics, or society, or the devil "made" us do something, or "made" us a certain way.  And we think, somehow, that whatever those circumstances are, that it takes away our choice and forces us to sin.  ... Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying that things don't sometimes happen to us that we can't control.  I am not saying that the victims of abuse are themselves responsible for said abuse, at all.  What I am saying is that whatever has happened to us, just like the tragedy that Job went through, we still get to choose.  And we all have the ability to rise above our circumstances.  We can be holy even when the context makes it unlikely, with God's help.  But first we have to look inward.  We have to take this advice, and go to the Lord and ask him to teach us the things that we can't see.  We have to be willing to accept responsibility and to change.
Today, let's go to the Lord with our problems and first ask "Lord, is it I?"  Let's stop blaming the people around us, and focus on changing ourselves.

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