Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
— Psalm 51
Several years ago, I was on a mission trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and met a family whose son was in jail for being in a car accident. As we discussed the details, I was struck by the strange circumstances of this young man. If you are not a naturally born citizen in the UAE, the government and the courts treat you differently. This young man was driving home from work one night and stopped at a red light. It was late, and the streets were empty, but an Emirati citizen was driving home drunk and ran into the back of his car. The young man was arrested and put into jail with an 18-month sentence. The court found him responsible for being stopped at the red light at that particular time. The judge said, “Had you not been there, there would not have been an accident, and so it is your fault for being in front of him when he needed to stop!”
It is a crazy story, but it comes to mind when I start thinking that others’ actions cause me to sin. Ultimately, every ungodly decision I make is my own. Taking ownership of my choices, actions, and thoughts will help me better understand the vast difference between God’s goodness and my selfishness. When we own our sin and confess it to God, we find that his forgiveness far outweighs and completely erases our selfish choice.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
— James 1:13–14
Can you think of a time when you blamed your actions on another? True repentance takes ownership. Is there someone from whom you need to ask forgiveness? Is there someone that you need to forgive? Or, is there a situation where you blamed others for your choice, and you need to step up and take responsibility?
When we walk as owners, we don’t act like victims.