It’s Their Fault, Not Mine

thing you want to hide

One day Jesus and his disciples were walking down the street and ran into a blind man. The disciples wanted to know why the man was blind.

“Whose sin caused this?” they asked.

Isn’t that just like us? Whose fault is this? Who can we pin this on? Determined to understand, we demand explanations, but far too often we can get stuck here.  If we blame others {including God}, if we get stuck in the “why” of it all, we tempt a hard-heartedness that can soil our hearts.

Jesus says we’re asking the wrong questions.

Read When A Woman Finds Her VoiceChapter Five A Purpose for the Pain.
Read John 9.

“You’re looking for someone to blame . . . . Look instead for what God can do (John 9:3-5).”

Look for what God can do.

What a fresh perspective. Are we willing to consider some of life’s circumstances as ready-made opportunities for God to be displayed in and through us, in spite of what we’ve walked through? These whys we get stuck in, they can cripple. We may never understand the why—sometimes God answers us, sometimes he doesn’t, but we really can live without knowing. {I’m living proof.}

If we cooperate with God, if we fully surrender our hurts to him, he will somehow use every ounce of pain we’ve ever walked through. I’ve surely had my share of life’s hurts so I don’t dare discount your pain, but no matter the depth of our hurts we simply cannot ignore God’s incredible love and power that ultimately takes everything that happens in our lives and somehow transforms it into something good. If we love him, if we keep our eyes on him, it all works out. He promises.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very careful about the use of Romans 8:28. If we just lost a family member, if our husband just walked out and we’re left holding two children, if we’re suddenly facing a game-changing illness, we may not be able to fully receive that God works for our good.

But far too often that verse is quoted without the first few words.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28, NIV).

And we know.

We must know. We must grasp this as truth. We must understand and accept that God is working, even in this. Even when nothing makes sense. This sort of confidence alters a perspective, frees us from old ways of thinking.

This knowing comes in time, but until then we save our sanity by leaning into a God who guides us through these hard places.

Look for what God can do.

In the end, Jesus healed the blind man so well that he was unrecognizable to the ones who knew him before. “Is this even the same man?” they asked. Jesus can heal our hurts with such a complete wholeness that people won’t even know we were ever wounded.

There is a powerful shifting that takes place as we abandon the right to understand and we yield to God’s working in our lives.

In our comment section below, please share with us your thoughts. Do you struggle with God’s sovereignty? Do you believe that He is in control? That he has a plan? Why or why not?

{Find more encouragement with Jo Ann’s newly released book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Using Your Story to Make a Difference. }

64 thoughts on “It’s Their Fault, Not Mine

  1. I can definitely resonate with the message of placing blame. For so long I have been “stuck” on placing blame on my brother for the abuse he inflicted upon me. Righteously so. He never suffered consequences or was held accountable for his actions. But that is not my place to hold him accountable. God is Vindicator. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Not “Vengeance is yours.” Vengeance is His, and only His. I’ve been doing this study (Core Healing from Sexual Abuse) and last week the focus was on distorted thinking….how I don’t have to BELIEVE everything that I THINK. That is where I am at. 1. I have been placing blame on God all these years (He was there, He saw it happen, He did not stop it) and 2. I have been living as if I am still that small, hurt child unprotected, dominated, and abused. I am not that child. I am 24. I am safe, I am loved, I am God’s. It has been very hard for me to trust God, but I am finally at a point where I see that He isn’t to blame. And I have to stop blaming my feelings on my brother. Yes, my brother abused me, but he is not in control of my feelings NOW. Only I am. I can choose to believe my feelings or I can choose to believe what is true: I am loved, I am valuable, I am God’s, He has a plan for me, He loves me, He goes before me, I am never alone. I need to constantly allow God to transform me into a new person by the renewing of my mind!! Only HE can take this burden from me. It is time to cast my burden on THE LORD and stop blaming (oh and pray for my brother–aka my enemies!) 🙂 Shew. Breakthrough! Thanks Jo Ann!! ♥

    • Wow D! These are such beautiful words from someone who has walked a hard path. You are learning and growing and so right about God begin there during each moment. And as He continues to heal you and show you that feeling are just feelings you will grow even more. Well done!

    • LOVE those times God breaks right through all the muck and the mire. Strong heart-work here! And phenomenal insights for those watching you go through the journey as well. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. Praying you through this . . .

    • WooHoo! Look at you D. You are getting your vengeance on the devil as you transform and speak out (Psalm 107:1, 2) on how God has redeemed you. FREEDOM!

    • I wish I could “like” all your girls’ comments. 🙂 I am so thankful that God has given me this community here to identify with and all you little “hands-on advocates” to walk by my side as I walk out this journey. God is good, and His timing is incredible! I am so excited for this New Year, as I throw out my to-do/resolution lists and do one thing–seek after the Maker, Shaper, Creator of my heart. Only God can free me from the oppression of lies I have been listening to my whole life and the pain that has crippled me. It’s time for a true heart transformation! New year, new me…new, awesome relationship with Jesus. I will not allow my past to keep defining me. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. Now I am going to use every breath in my body to help others overcome their shame too! LOVE having you girls to walk beside me in this journey!!! Could not feel more blessed than I do right now! 🙂

  2. I have found myself asking “why” a lot lately and I am a year away from my last major episode of depression. Healing can take a long time, much longer than I expected. Holding onto the truth that God is working it all out for my good is something I’ve had to grasp more and more lately. Thank you Jo Ann for your words today.

    • Yes, I find that healing is taking way longer than I think it should! And the fact that God can do something good for/with me is very hard to grasp.

  3. It certainly took me a long time to accept the “and we know” part of that scripture. After many years of fighting and working really hard to try and “fix” myself and accept my past, I finally get that part. I do know now, that God will use my past for healing in other’s lives, He will use my story. The “and we know” part of that scripture had to be beat down into my heart, repeated over and over, for me to finally believe it. But when I finally did, what an amazing feeling it was and still is, free! I’m not saying that he allowed my past to happen, but I am so forever thankful it did, for I am who I am today because of it.

    • Tina, I remember finding myself at this spot. A place where I could look back and see that I had somehow found God in the midst of one of the worst circumstances of my life. And that if I could somehow take away that which I thought I would never be able to endure, well, I would lose my experience with God that I had in the midst of it. And I simply wasn’t willing to do that.

      It’s a strange journey, this healing.

      Thank you for sharing! Thank you for being you. 🙂

  4. Abandoning the right to understand, to know. To walk out in faith. No idea where you are going? Okay, we are going with God. Trusting Him. Stopping with the Plans B through G. *sigh* yes THAT. I believe He is in control. And that He has a plan. I just, in my fallible human way, want more assurances, more hints and more clues about the outcome. Surrendering the need to know, the need to understand is HUGE, and HARD. And a process I am working through, and so not alone. Thanks to you all, and to Him.

  5. I spent this last weekend doing a lot of “Why me and Why not me” with my Mom. We didn’t come up with many answers but did accumulate a few aha moments. I learned from her perspective and wisdom and it surprised me, when she said, she learns a lot from me. While we disagree on what Bible is the best, we do agree, we are hearing his voice. My parents weren’t the strongest at setting boundaries or confronting their extended families and I took the brunt many times throughout my first quarter on earth. My Dad died over a dozen years ago, so my Mom is the one to hear my pain and she does it well. But after another quarter and more on this earth, I had to make the decision to set the boundaries and move forward. Jo Ann, your group and book, have helped me to stand up for myself with confidence and to know the Lord again. Thank You.

    • Parents can give surprising insight. After all, they’re the ones who have known us the longest! And I’m often surprised by what my mum says. I’m glad she’s open to your struggles.

    • Debie, good for you!! Boundaries are so important and they are discussed at length in the bible. So glad you are able to be open with your mom. That’s a blessing!!

    • Debie, it is such a joy to hear this, to know that God is stirring and you are leaning into him. Thank you for allowing us to share the journey with you.

      Meanwhile, know that I am praying for complete healing and restoration as I know our God is capable of. Thank you for seeking hard after him, Debie.

  6. I believe 100% in God’s sovereignty, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know why. And I still have no idea how God could possibly use my mess for his glory.

    • Bethany, I hear you. It’s hard to see the path when it’s clouded. I can look back at certain painful experiences and NOW I see where His hand was and what he was creating. But there are other places that my view is shaded. He will use our mess as messages we just have to keep moving forward.

    • You know Bethany as I read your words, I felt a lil check in my heart. I think rather than saying “Jesus says we’re asking the wrong questions,” my heart really meant that Jesus suggests we’re FOCUSING on the wrong question. Wanting to know why, I think, is a natural response. It isn’t that God says we shouldn’t ask. It’s just when we get lost in the why of it all, we tend to miss out on the “what’s next” that might be right around the corner.

      Praying for you, bethany.

      • Thank you, Jo Ann! Thank you for the clarification and for admitting it; so many people wouldn’t. Thank you for your encouragement.

  7. I think I may be different from many in that I don’t really ask “why” so much as I ask “how.” I have the faith to believe that if God allows it to happen, then I don’t need to know his reason for why, but I need to know How I am to get through the trial. What I have struggled with most lately is not liking me very much lately, not liking the me God created. I truly feel bad about that, because I feel like that is a slap in God’s face since he was the artist, and since I was created in His image. Yet I look around at all those I see, and I see all they are accomplishing, all the goals they are meeting, all the ways they are growing, and I feel like I am falling short. I feel like I have been put in the naughty chair and forgotten.

    • Comparison steals our joy. I am bad about that too, looking at what others have and feeling forgotten. But you are on the right path and God certainly has not forgotten you. I believe in the process of questioning and accepting our lives but God doesn’t want us to just live the status quo. He has his own ways of giving and they are always different from how we think it should be. Keep going Michelle, God will meet you where you need him.

  8. Romans 8:28 got me through some hard times when I found myself in a wheelchair for the rest of my life at the age of 17. As I got older, I learned the last part of that verse, who have been called according to his purpose. That helped me change my relationship with God quite a bit. I knew that for some reason beyond my understanding, God would use me being in a chair for something. And now you point out the first part, and we know. Maybe after all of these years I finally get a more clear picture. I DO know. I know God is real. I know Jesus lived and died for me. I know he’s got something in store for me but I just don’t know what that is yet. I will continue to wait and be patient to know what he’s doing. My life is far from perfect but I’m better than I was. Thank you God! I’m glad that I have never been one who had to know the why’s of my medical situation. I did a lot of soul searching when my husband left and now that he’s back, we’ve changed a lot. I still feel like there is a story there but God hasn’t said GO on that yet, so again, I wait.

    • And it sounds as if you are waiting beautifully, Deb. What a powerful story you have in these few words alone. I cannot wait to see how the rest unfolds. Thank you for sharing this encouragement with us. Thank you for modeling parts of this Jesus-walk for us. Just thank you for being you.

    • Deb, you are doing the right thing and I know it;s been hard with your family. But the choices you have made to love them anyway is proof there is a God and He can change us even if other people never do. So glad you are here my friend!

      • Sarah, you don’t realize just how glad I am to have met you and the others in the bible study. It truly has been an answer to prayer. To be able to open up has been refreshing and a relief. Too much junk caught up inside just isn’t good and you let me spill it out. I have been blessed to have met you! Thank you for your encouragement! Hugs as always! Will miss you on Thursday’s.

  9. I know that God is in control and that He has a plan NOW, yet that was not always the case. I am watching Him change my life, and while I still don’t know how all the individual pieces fit, I know that He does. That is enough for me, for now.

    However this is not to say I have it all together, because that would be a lie. It just means that I no longer focus on why things are the way they are and beg when will they ever improve. Instead I pray, cry, and trust that He will guide me each step of the way, and that it is all a part of a plan that I simply can not see.

    I used to blame God. I also spent a lot of years blaming others. I blamed them for why I was the way I am. I blamed them for circumstances out of my control. I even blamed them because I was miserable. I used to even believe Gods promises were for others, more than me.

    Yet now I see that there is a purpose I still don’t fully understand to all the pain I have suffered, and all the questions that I have asked.

    • Deanna, I praise God for this work that God has done in your heart. It is from this foundation that you are primed for ongoing godly transformation! Thank you for sharing. <3

  10. I hid behind my ex-husband’s abuse. He was the monster, the reason for the issues in our family and the reason for the divorce. It was an obvious and easy out for my behavior in the relationship. However, God did not let me off that easy. He has been revealing ever so slowly and tenderly the broken parts of me that have adversely affected my boys. In the revelations, he has offered second (and third, fourth and fifth) opportunities for me to rip up the foundation of fear and anger that was laid in their lives and replace it with the love, grace and glory of their Heavenly Father. After I left their father, I was full of entitlement, resentment, and fear. But in his sovereignty God wrecked me, in his control he healed me, and in his plan I am walking out his grace because he told me that it is my job to get as many people to heaven as I can. But I must start at home.

    • Lorie, the hardest thing for me to deal with was my part and the damage I caused to my children because I would not leave their father. Like you Father wrecked me many times over the last nine years since I left. Jeremiah 31:15 – 17 is a powerful promise from God, He will bring back our children from the land of the enemy and there is hope and restoration for our children. My kids are adults, I am seeing the promised fulfilled. So excited for what God is doing in you and your boys.

      • That is a wonderful scripture! I went directly to my Bible and read it in this particular context, and it was profound. It has been 8 years since my initial separation from their dad with a few failed attempts in between. I did some damage the last time I agreed to another go of our relationship. I say me because I let him in our home. That had a deeper negative impact than I anticipated. However, I am watching the restoration process unfold before my eyes, and it is an amazing experience.

    • Wow Lorie, you are certainly speaking truth and sharing this ill help others. I love your description of how God is working it all out in you. Keep going and God will do his part to heal your children.

      • Thank you Sarah! It is true that God is doing his part to heal my children. God has brought them to an amazing place of healing in the past year. My oldest (17) is really struggling with forgiveness, but that is a lesson well learned with patience and example.

  11. Love that you pointed out the beginning of this verse. What I have always struggled with but is getting better is that I know in my head, I believe in my head but many times there is a disconnect between what my head knows and what my heart knows. The good news is this…..each time God opens a proverbial Pandora’s box for me He also opens a new link between my head and my heart. It’s not easy, the things that come out of that box are painful, difficult and bring me to my knees. Yet each time I am brought to my knees it is there that a new link is created, like neurons in the brain a new link is created between my head and my heart and as these pathways increase I become more and more able to fully believe He is present and working within. As the year draws to a close I can only pray for those links to continue expanding,,,,,no matter the cost, for to be whole within Him the links from head to heart must weave themselves so closely that the separation of heart and mind no longer exists.

    • Wow Amy, that is so beautiful! What a vivid picture you paint with your words. He is doing a great work in you and through you.

  12. I knew only God could bring good out of my story and I knew He would use it to bring Him Glory. Only I was not on board with this plan. At. All. It was not until I read chapter 5 did I get it. Though I did not like my story I would attempt on my own to shove my story out there with little or no results. After reading chapter 5 and then through much revelation did God reveal He would bring the women to me who needed to hear my story. I was frustrated as I could not get my family and friends to read my blog when it occurred to me, my blog was not written for them. To them it was words on a page. The best revenge I can get is in telling my story. What was meant to destroy me is now being used to help others. My job is to write, the rest is up to Him. The enemy and those who caused our pain would love to keep us silent. Psalm 107:1, 2, 43 remind us to speak out and to know it is in our story others will see the faithful love of The Lord. It has taken me nine years to get to this point. I am grateful for this forum to share with like minded women who are ready to get revenge on the devil by telling our stories and allowing God work all our things for good.

    • That’s wonderful Karen. And you are right, it’s not for them. It’s for you to give glory to God and all He’s done in your life and He will bring the people to you who need your message. Well done beautiful lady!

  13. When I decided to do this study book…. I told myself that I wouldn’t quit because I always do when something scares me or intimidates me. For me it’s an easy way out without pain. I’ve been struggling lately about finishing this book study… many times I want to quit. It’s making me see how much in a bad shape I am in believing in God. I have to be honest with you… I’m stuck on Chapter 4 on the questions because so many things are about God. I don’t want to continue until I’m all done the questions. I took a break last week because for me it was a very hard week just to be with family and remembering things. Now this week I’m struggling so much to get back into it. I don’t hear God’s voice…I don’t even feel that he’s around me. I was brought up by going to church every Sunday. My body was there but my heart was never there. I feel so lost in words. ;(

    • Sweet Carole how my heart breaks as I read your words. I remember being in this same place so many times. Wanting to know all the why’s and needing answers. The answers will come but not all at once. Over the last nine years God has answered so many of the why’s, even after I gave up asking. God is with you and speaking ever so softly, “I love you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I am drawing you to myself. I will rebuild you, you will be happy and dance. I have redeemed you. I will turn your mourning into joy. I will comfort you. I hear your deep anguish and bitter weeping, turn to me and I will restore you. You are my darling daughter. I am about to do something new. I, the Lord, have spoken.” Read Jeremiah 31 in NLT or Message version, these are His words to you Carole, let them sink deep into your soul. Praying for you dear one.

      • Karen…I really want to believe what you feel God is saying to me… kind of hard right now to believe anything. I try so hard to focus on the positive…I really want to reach a point where I’m happy…I really do. Thanks for the prayers.

    • Carole, I read your words and see myself in different seasons of life. I found that if I just start reading the bible I can find something that resonates with me. I believe that’s God speaking to me. It’s not always a profound or heavy thing but I can relate somehow. My friend suggested I start reading John when i was really hurting one day. So I took my journal and went through the first few chapters. There were random verses that spoke to me. Take baby steps and you will get there. Don’t give up!

      • Thanks Sarah, just having a hard time at the moment. I’m feeling overwhelmed with the holidays and I know now I have to get back up and start working on stuff again. I will read in my Bible. I will try to not give up on God or this book study.

  14. Usually I do believe He is in control and I am pretty good at believing it in an overall sense with big things in my life and I know He will protect me, but I tend to forget that He is in the little things too. The daily struggles and pain that comes and then frustration when things don’t go how I planned. But when I stop and step back, He has a way of reminding me of this Truth in the midst of it all and I’m very grateful for that. He knows what gets my attention and what speaks to me.

    Also I wanted to ask something separately of this question. At the moment I don’t really have any in-person relationships to help me in this study or to talk about it with and I was wondering if anyone here would like to be my “buddy” for this study? Someone who I can talk with online, maybe even call (I live in Canada but I have free US calling so it wouldn’t cost anyone I called). Someone who can pray with me and we can help each other through the chapters and just be friends. I know that I need a community around me in person, but that just isn’t an option at the moment. So if anyone is willing, can you please email me? My email is mandamarie33@hotmail(.)com.

    • Amanda, I have struggled a lot with seeing God in the everyday things too. I think I just didn’t understand the full scope of His love and attention for me. And He does have a way of reminding us all that He is in every little part of our lives.
      Praying you can find a partner to walk through this process with.

  15. God has shown me this past year His purpose from my pain and suffering through the use of Jo Anne’s book. How He can bring Hope through our messy lives. Thank You Jo Ann and my precious new friends that continue to encourage and inspire all of us. Love and Hugs -t

  16. What do I do if I’m too worried to write my heart when I know I will hurt people I love? I want to write. But to write what I know is scary.

    • Not sure I completely understand your question but writing does not always have to be shared with others. As Jesus heals there may be things you are able to share in writing but it is never an all or nothing. God will honor however you use your writing. Some of my hurts and writing are posted in public blogs but many many more remain between myself, God and a close friend. Find a friend you can trust to share your writing with, you will be amazed what God may speak through that friend and new perspectives that may be gained. I even have written some very painful memories just for a release, then I pray deeply over them, allow God to speak to the pain and then burn them privately while asking God to do with them what He feels is best for me. Stephie, I pray you can begin working through the pain with God by your side. You are not alone but you might be surprised what healing can begin when you write right where it hurts……if I could reach out and give you a hug right now I would!

    • Stephie, if you are concerned about sharing private experiences in public then I would begin keeping a journal and write your thoughts there. That exercise can be very therapeutic.

  17. I thank you for this discussion. It helps to know that others have similar concerns. Sometimes I feel so alone in my struggles to understand God’s reasoning and plans for every hurt I have encountered. I have been going through trials I never expected, all caused by one person’s actions. Trying to understand why this person prospers, while, I, a believer and follower of Christ still suffers,

    • Deanna, I have experienced someone else’s actions having devastating results on my life and my children’s lives. There was no justice given to the person for almost 9 years but now he is where he should be. God has a plan and as He works it out we must learn to live and not be so consumed with what happens to the other person. God is the ultimate judge and I lived a long time wondering when we would finally get justice. Keep going my friend and look for what God has in store for YOU.

  18. And we know… three powerful words! I have to have that deep assurance that God is bigger than my circumstance. And He will get all the glory.

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