The following post is by Revd Richard Pennystan from St Chad's Romiley, who preached at Cornerstone Church last year. He, and his curate, are doing a daily blog on wisdom this year. If you would like to receive these blogs through email please fill out a contact form on the contact page so that we can put you in touch.

Proverbs 19

Money, integrity and honesty are all key themes you'll have seen in this chapter. Safe in the knowledge that we’ve got a 19th of the month 11 more times in 2015, I’m going to leave reflections on them for future months. Today I want to reflect on one verse to build on yesterday’s theme of folly.

v3 People’s stupidity frustrates their path
yet their hearts rage against God.

We make unwise choices, we pursue foolish paths, we chase feelings and immediate pleasure, that path leads to emptiness and then we blame God.

Even when they’ve fallen in a pit, the fool still justifies themselves and refuses to humbly recognise their mistakes and weaknesses and switches quickly to blame God.

Sadly as a pastor, I see this cycle happening time and time and time again. Part of folly is the choice to avoid all self reflection and not even consider the question of whether we might have got it wrong. That leads to blame and God often seems like a good target.

There is a flip side to this, which I see quite often, when folly leads to frustration, or pain or brokenness, then we can fall off the horse the other side from self justifying and fall into self-hatred, believing not just that “I’ve made a mistake”, but “I am a mistake”, not just that “I got it wrong” but “I’m a failure”. The danger here is that we blame God too, we push Him away blaming him for the way He made us.

One of the consistent messages of the whole Bible is not to blame God, but to take responsibility for our own actions and what they lead to. The people of Israel blamed God for the collapse of their nation and destruction of the temple when the Babylonians invaded in 587BC, but the loud message from God was; “This is what you chose when you broke the covenant relationship with me”.

We blame God, when we believe in a god who isn’t the God of the Bible!

What I mean by that is; we blame God, when we believe in fatalism, when we believe God is in meticulous control over all our actions and use that to absolve ourselves of responsibility. If we blame God for the outcome of our decisions, or we blame Him for the way He made us leading to those decisions, then we’re not taking responsibility. God, as a loving parent wants us to become mature and take responsibility.

The beauty of the good news of what Jesus has done is to make sure that our mistakes are not the end of the story. We all get it wrong, that doesn’t mean God gives up on us. When our mistakes lead us down a path to pain, we can choose not to rage against God, and push Him away, but rather to turn back to Him, because He welcomes us back, gives us a second (and third and fourth..) chance and if we’re willing to learn, He’ll teach us wisdom through the process.