When I was a child, I absolutely loved to get mail. I would eagerly wait outside on our front porch for the mailman to arrive. Then I would hurriedly scan the letters to see if any of them had my name on them. Usually I did not receive any mail and would feel very disappointed. “Mean old Mr. Mailman,” I often complained. “He didn’t bring me any mail!” I felt like it was the mailman’s fault that I received no correspondence! It wasn’t until years later that I realized the mailman deserved no blame for my lack of letters!
Now I wonder how many times in my fifty plus years have I blamed other people for problems not caused by them at all? Blaming others for my failures is not my fault–I inherited that trait from my ancestors Adam and Eve! (See what I did there?) Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. If the serpent had had a few more minutes to think, he would probably have come up with someone else to blame too! haha Of course, I would rather blame someone else than own up to my own self-inflicted problems and failures.
There’s an interesting verse in the Bible that I have never heard used in a sermon, but it would make a great one: John 16:22, “…and your joy no man taketh from you.” Does that verse mean that I can have joy no matter how others treat or mistreat me? Wow and double wow!!!
We spend our days blaming others and circumstances for our lack of joy. If that family member hadn’t done me wrong, if my husband were only more attentive, if that friend hadn’t ignored me, if my child hadn’t rebelled, if we only had more money, IF IF IF!!!
Jesus promised me joy that no man/circumstance can take away from me–unless I allow it to! When I do not have the joy that Jesus promises me, it is my own fault. Not anybody else’s. Not my circumstances. My fault. Mea culpa.
So today I choose to have the joy Jesus gives me that no man can take away from me–even when I check the mailbox, and it’s empty!