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--Who Do You Blame Your Problems On?
--By Maria       Maria #181 DO 2840

       1. If we want to look around for someone to blame our problems on, there are always lots of candidates! We can blame things on our parents, our past experiences, our past leaders & our present leaders! But can we honestly blame our personal problems on our leadership & say that they're the ones who have kept us from growing, or they're the ones who have stumbled us, or they're the ones who have made things so hard for us that we became bitter & resentful & couldn't progress spiritually?--No, I don't think so!
       2. Consider, for example, all those who had to work directly under Jethro--someone who turned out to be an absolute hireling, a Judas, a harsh, cruel taskmaster & a false shepherd who represented all that is opposite of good leadership! Why didn't all of them end up in the same state as Jethro & eventually all backslide?
       3. If incompetent & inept leadership can be blamed for our problems, all those who worked under Jethro & other tyrants like Deb & Rachel should be in a terrible mess, & in fact, should have backslidden! Some did, yes, but how do you account for people like Silas & Endureth, Zadok, Paul Papers, Josiah, Marianne, Juan & many others who worked very closely with those people, yet are some of our top leaders today?
       4. True, they were somewhat tainted & polluted by Jethro, Deb & Rachel's bad habits, some more than others. But that's as far as the blame could go. They could blame them for teaching them bad habits of mishandling people & for a general lack of good training in many areas. But even if they taught them bad habits, they couldn't make them backslide!--Nor could they affect their basic relationship with Jesus & their love for Him & His Word & their dedication to His Work. They certainly couldn't blame Jethro or others for a lack of yieldedness on their part or selfishness or disobediences or self-righteousness! (See the comment from one of our pubs people regarding past Latin American leadership for a good illustration of this principle.--ML #2621:129-130, GN 437. See also Dad's sample of training under Fred Jordan.--ML #2382:12, DB 9.)
       5. Even if their growth had been slowed down temporarily, they had to see this as the hand of the Lord in teaching them many valuable lessons.--And they had to take the primary responsibility for their own personal spiritual walk with the Lord. As soon as they stopped blaming Jethro--or anyone else, for that matter--for their problems, the Lord was able to deal with them personally, & then under good training they were able to grow as much as they desired.
       6. So although poor training may hold us back as leaders, it can't affect our basic love for Jesus & His Word & our desire to please Him. That's something between us & the Lord. And if we let bitterness & resentment grow in our hearts, they'll not only defile us, but many others, as the Scripture says.--"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, & thereby many be defiled!"--Heb.12:15.

       Who's to Blame for Bitterness?!
       7. The Lord indicates that we are the ones to blame for our bitterness, not those who we may feel supposedly caused our problems! It's almost funny, but also sad that while we're blaming it on others, the Lord is blaming it on us! And He tells us that if we do have any bitterness or resentment, we should go & ask forgiveness.
       8. If you are in a bitter & resentful state, it means you're not forgiving others. Obviously you have an ought in your heart that you're not forgiving them for. So that means you need to ask forgiveness of the person that you have that bitterness against, not expect them to ask you for forgiveness! That means that that bitterness & resentment is your fault! It's not their fault.
       9. That's a very important point because we often mistakenly get the idea that if we are bitter towards someone, it's their fault. But that's not what the Lord says. The Lord blames it on us! It's our fault!--Which is why Jesus said, "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought (bitterness) against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses!"--Mark 11:25,26.
       10. If you have bitterness against somebody & you let it be known or put into words all of the wrongs that you think they've done to you, actually it's not them that you're exposing as much as yourself that you're exposing!--Because the bitterness is your fault! The Lord blames it on you & tells you you're supposed to forgive! He's not so concerned about them forgiving you. Of course, if they were mean to you, they should repent too, but that's not the main point! The main point is you & your bitterness, that's what's wrong, & that is why you need to ask for forgiveness.
       11. If you don't know where the person is whom you're bitter toward & you can't ask him or her to forgive you, at least you can ask the Lord.--And the Lord will forgive you, & He can get that root of bitterness out of your heart. In fact, He has to get it out of your heart! You have to get rid of that before the Lord will even forgive you for your sins, before you can get the answers to your prayers, & certainly before you can get the growth & the training & all the other things that you need. If you find you just can't bring yourself to tell someone you've been bitter against them & you're sorry & you want them to forgive you, then desperately pray for the Lord's forgiveness & ask Him to give you the love & humility you need to go to that person & make things right.
       12. Whether the other person forgives you or reconciles with you or not is not even relevant. Even if you try & he doesn't accept it, that's irrelevant. The key is that you have to forgive him, & not allow any more of that horrible bitterness or resentfulness or lack of forgiveness in your heart!
       13. There's a very powerful parable about the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, verses 23-35, which you would be wise to study. It contains a very serious warning "if you forgive not others their trespasses!" If you have problems with blaming some of your leaders or others for things they've done to you, just ask yourself if you haven't done some of the same things to others, or at least things just as bad at some time in your leadership or your service for the Lord.
       14. Another good passage to read along these lines is Matthew 7:1-5: "Judge not, that ye be not judged! For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?--Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, `Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye'; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye!"

       The Difference Between
Sincere Questions & Resentment!
       15. We don't want to be like those people in the church that Dad has talked about, & I've heard that kind of thing myself, personally; they get up in church to supposedly confess their sins, but they confess everybody else's sins instead!
       16. Of course, sometimes you might have questions about things that have happened in the past, sincere questions about things that you really don't understand.--Why certain things were done or why they were said. Perhaps they affected you so much that it confused you & you still don't know what to think of it. In such a case, I would say of course you should ask. It's not wrong to ask for help in understanding such things, if your motive is really sincere & you're not just trying to bring up everybody else's faults or justify & vindicate yourself.
       17. On the other hand, if the Lord has shown you by His Word or by good trained leaders or whatever, that some things from the past were wrong, & you've gotten those questions cleared up now, & you've learned & grown from past mistakes, then there's not really any need to bring up everything from the past again.--"Forget those things which are behind!"--Phil.3:13.
       18. But if someone has a sincere question, he should ask it. Years ago, one of our leaders was told by a former over-shepherd that he was good for nothing & that he'd never accomplish anything, & he held this in his heart for years, & he let it so affect him that he eventually believed it. Well, in a case like that, he needed to get that out & he needed to talk about it & he needed to be reassured that that wasn't the case!
       19. That was a confusion, a sincere question that he had, & it wouldn't really be classed in the same category as a bitterness. Maybe he did have a bitterness, & if he did he needed to forgive, but in his case he also had a sincere question that he needed to get cleared up in order to "lay aside that weight."--Heb.12:1.
       20. That's very different from exposing & airing everybody else's sins to others & confessing them for them! But if you do have bitternesses that you have to get out, or you feel like you just have to tell somebody, you could put them on paper & tell them to a strong leader who is not going to be affected by them. And of course, ask for prayer, & ask the Lord to forgive you. Get it over & done with!--And let it go & forsake it!--Then you won't have to talk about it any more. Then you can go on with the Lord & start afresh & anew & go on to new things & new growth & a new day! Amen? PTL!

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