Who's to blame?
Whenever the clouds forecast rain, my joints ache like a bad tooth. If the barometric pressure drops suddenly, my body feels ill at ease, full of the heebie-jeebies. I blame the weather for such symptoms.
Speaking of blame, as a kid I typically blamed my parents for keeping me from having fun. Later, during my first marriage, I faulted my husband for our problems.
We tend to blame the devil for many of our failures, too. Usually when someone says, “The devil made me do it,” we laugh. The habit of blaming others, however, is no joking matter—whether of the devil or anyone else. Transferring blame means taking the easy way out of dealing with our faults in order to look better and soothe our guilty conscience.
Fault-finding began in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve for giving him the forbidden fruit, and Eve blamed the snake, representing the devil, for deceiving her.
Who’s to blame when life goes awry? Is it fair to blame Adam and Eve for our sin? Our human side tells us to believe we must work hard to justify our innocence. By nature, we tend to focus on people, circumstances and even on other-worldly forces, instead of on ourselves, where blame usually lies.
Speaking of the devil, sin arises when we allow him opportunity for cause. We try to avoid the word sin, preferring to call it moral weakness, fault, or shortcoming. Rather, we need to avoid sin itself. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:7).
None of us likes to confront our sin. Apologies make us feel less than what we consider ourselves to be. We’d rather feel better about ourselves than we do about others. Jesus told a parable about a Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men … I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” A humble tax collector, rather, begged God to be merciful to him, a sinner. Jesus concluded his parable thus, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Through God’s word and the conviction of his Spirit, we can humble ourselves and accept the blame when it is needed, and where it belongs, on ourselves.
Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirit who shows us when we wrongly transfer our blame to others. Keep us humble as Jesus was humble, accepting the blame for our own sin. In his name, amen.
Mrs. Bair may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org