Don’t Blame Me.
These are the ancient words of a poem carved in a gothic, medieval alphabet on a cathedral door in Lubeck, Germany.
Translated into modern English, the words take the form of a frightening poem, calling believers as well as unbelievers to look to ‘the thoughts and intents’ of their hearts.
You call me eternal, then do not seek me
You call me fair, then do not love me
You call me gracious, then do not trust me
You call me just, then do not fear me
You call me life, then do not choose me
You call me light, then do not see me
You call me Lord, then do not respect me
You call me master, then do not obey me
You call me merciful, then do not thank me
You call me mighty, then do not honor me
You call me noble, then do not serve me
You call me rich, then do not ask me
You call me Savior, then do not praise me
You call me shepherd, then do not follow me
You call me the Way, then do not walk with me
You call me wise, then do not heed me
You call me Son of God, then do not worship me
When I condemn you….. then do not blame me.
I heard these words this morning in a recorded sermon by John McArthur.* They were written anonymously centuries ago, perhaps chiseled by a workman at the behest of a clergyman whose love for God and life of service were growing cold. Or, possibly by a zealous minister seeing his congregation becoming prideful, insincere, and self-satisfied. The year was 1173, but the wisdom of the poem is for us to consider today.
McArthur’s sermon was titled “Beware of Hypocrisy” from his Living Real series (1969). He referred to verses in Matthew 6 and 7 from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before man, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”
Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’.”
These are sobering, convicting words by Christ, meant to shake hypocrites from their self righteous pride and turn them (repent) to the only Righteous One, for true salvation.
Although I am a believer and I trust fully in the Lord Jesus for my salvation and righteousness before God, I still at times walk in pride, ego, selfishness, and hypocrisy toward God and others. This prayer is my heart, crying out today for genuine love toward my God and for a life that honors him in all I do.
“O, God and Father of my Lord Jesus, help me not to live in hypocrisy!
Help me to heed your words of wisdom and walk in your Way, living gratefully the redeemed life you have given me through your Son, Jesus. May my heart seek you, obey you, and honor you in all I do.
Help me to see you as the ultimate Light and Truth and to seek you with all my heart and soul. Help me to trust in your grace absolutely and thank you always for your mercy and forgiveness. You are eternal, almighty, sovereign; my Lord and King.
Help me as your child to freely ask ‘anything’ of you because you are rich beyond all my imagination, and You delight in supplying my needs and giving good gifts to me.
O Shepherd, Savior, Son of God, I worship you. Fill my heart and my mouth with praise and gratitude. Make me true!”
*John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College & Seminary, and featured teacher with the “Grace to You” media ministry. All of John’s 3,500 sermons, spanning more than four decades of ministry, are available for free on this website.
In 1969, after graduating from Talbot Theological Seminary, John came to Grace Community Church. The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage