Truthful Tuesday: Who’s to Blame?

Pointing Fingers

Pointing Fingers — Image by © Images.com/Corbis

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When one falls, we all do.

Scripture:

Joshua 7:1, 11-12

But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches. The LORD was furious with the Israelites. 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenantal commandment! They have taken some of the riches; they have stolen them and deceitfully put them among their own possessions. 12 The Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they retreat because they have become subject to annihilation. I will no longer be with you, unless you destroy what has contaminated you.”

But.  I hate that word.  It usually precedes something you don’t want to hear.  Before the “but” word is typically something encouraging to set you up for the plunge you are about to take.  I gotta say it … BUT if it were not for the buts we would probably have many lessons unlearned.

We all want to hear a fairy tale ending for someone who has suffered.  The Israelites had just defeated Jericho.  We don’t want to hear that they are now about to be annihilated because one person stole what was meant to be destroyed.  Instead of celebrating victory, 36 innocent men died because one of the Israelites just had to disobey.

What is difficult for me to swallow in the above passage is the plural on the people group Israelites.  One person is named to have sinned greatly before God, but they all take the rap for it.

At first God’s ire seems unjust, but if we consider the family unit, when just one member transgresses, the whole family is affected.  People question how the family could allow such an action.  So it is with the body of Christ.

Sometimes tragedy awakens us to realize we might have sin in our camp.  We can oversimplify and assume that any difficulty was brought about by sin, BUT in reality, whether the root cause is sin or not, there is always a lesson within that has the potential to draw us nearer to God.

Who is right and who is wrong does not really matter.  Finding someone to blame does not necessarily fix the problem, either.

If we are all the body, then when one part of the body of Christ is found in sin we should not consider ourselves better, but surround that person and count ourselves in their number until we right the wrong.

Ultimately, the discovery of sin is devastating, BUT it can produce the beautiful fruit of repentance if we humble ourselves and let it.  Like Moses who offered to bear the blame of the sin of his people, may God help us to bear one another’s weaknesses and point one another to Christ.

Lord, help us to yield to You when we want to run the other way because of someone else’s or our own shame.  May we discover the joy of obedience and help others around us to do the same.

Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Fault Is It?

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Proverbs 11:5-6

“The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.  The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires.”

Proverbs 12:12, 21

“The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.  21 The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

Genesis 4:7

“Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.”

James 1:15

“Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Jeremiah 19:5

“They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”


Daily we bear the sins of one another as well as our own.  In vanity we scramble to attempt to cover our shortcomings, but underneath is the same intent and heart.  In all the stress of our messy lives, a sinless Lamb covered all of the sins of the world and yet our hearts somehow still can blame Him.

Every day sin captivates mankind and every day the consequences of those sins are born and the blame is cast.  Sin ravages our souls and is often permitted to do so by the very ones whose lives it wreaks havoc upon.

A sane mind would not seek to suffer purposely, yet that is exactly what we do when we give in to sin’s deception.  God’s laws still stand whether or not we pay heed to them.  Like gravity, our decisions will affect the course of our life and the weight of sin will be felt, much like the joy experienced from the fruit of obedience.

God hates sin.  He hates what it does to us.  Our flesh hates the rules and boundaries set, thinking we are being deprived. All the while God wants to spare us from the spreading cancer which threatens to steal our joy and imprison us.

Time and time again throughout history God’s people are lured away by sin’s promises deceitfully dressed up in an attractive array.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.  How is it we cannot recognize the same strategies of the enemy and refrain from indulging our flesh?  Especially when we have seen in history the effects of sin on this weary world?

Deception.  Lust of the flesh.  Distrust.  Rebellion.  Self-reliance.  If in the moment of temptation we cry out to God, He will provide the grace and strength we need to overcome.  But all too often we don’t.  He makes a way out and we rationalize that our way seems better.  Or maybe we doubt God’s goodness or His ways and choose to be our own God.

While the prevalence of sin in our culture can be discouraging, there is still hope.  We can stop blaming others or God and put no confidence in our flesh.  We can turn away from sin and ask God to help us recognize it for what it is.  We are left without an excuse, but God forgives us anyway.  What kind of grace would choose to bear our blame?  Selfless, Holy grace – from the Only One Who can grant it.

Lord, help us to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it, the enemy of our souls.  Thank You for Your gracious covering and for setting us free!

Worshipful Wednesday: The Blame Shame Game

Genesis 16:3-6, 13

16:3 So after Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years, Sarai, Abram’s wife, gave Hagar, her Egyptian servant, to her husband to be his wife. 4 He had sexual relations with Hagar,and she became pregnant.  Once Hagar realized she was pregnant, she despised Sarai5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You have brought this wrong on me!  I allowed my servant to have sexual relations with you, but when she realized that she was pregnant, she despised me.  May the Lord judge between you and me! 6 Abram said to Sarai, “Since your servant is under your authoritydo to her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai treated Hagar harshly, so she ran away from Sarai. 13 So Hagar named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are the God who sees me,” for she said,“Here I have seen one who sees me!

Genesis 17:1

17:1 When Abram was 99 years oldthe Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the sovereign GodWalk before me and be blameless.

Blame is a funny thing.  We somehow think blaming others will vindicate us, all the while inwardly it is an inner child trying to avoid the shame that is welling up inside.  We want the problem to be someone else’s, because we try to convince ourselves that we don’t have problems, or “issues” as they are called today.  Blaming does not achieve the goal of easing our consciences – instead, it serves to create even more baggage to sort through.

Sarai was a bold woman.  Many regard her as submissive, and she was, but in this moment she felt shame that she could not bear a child for her husband.  That shame motivated her to manipulate to achieve God’s promise and bypass the process of God’s blessing.  God said it, she would see it done!

The problem is, she did not go about it God’s way.  Waiting can be painful, especially when we have something to look forward to.  An uncomfortable station in life might motivate us to try to escape and maybe dull the pain.  Or maybe blame others around us that we are not where we should be.  Looking to the future too much, though, can steal our joy in the present.

Maybe we are on the receiving end of blame.  Not fun at all.  I am encouraged when I see how God treated Hagar, the maidservant.  A slave woman used to birth a son for another woman, then blamed for it.  And God saw her.  God sees when we are mistreated and He also sees when we use people for our own glory or desires.  When others manipulate us, in His sovereignty He will take all things, good and bad, and use them for His purposes.  Amazing God.

Whichever end you are on in the blame/shame game, there is hope.  If you are excusing your shortcomings and placing them on someone else, acknowledge that guilt and lay it at His feet.  If you are the one accused by others, lay it down at His feet.  We are all guilty, all desperate before our God Who took all of our blame.  We are all messed up – even the heroes of the faith made mistakes.

We have hope in a God Who sees all, forgives us and HOLDS US BLAMELESS!  God is so gracious, that He still granted that promise – a precious son, Isaac, to Abraham and Sarah.  This son would be a part of fulfilling the blessing of salvation for the whole earth.

LORD, You are awesome, Holy and Perfect in all Your ways!  Thank you for taking up all of our burdens, shame and blame.