Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Blame Game


“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  Genesis 3:12 (KJV)

Have you ever blamed someone else for your actions or reactions?  Have you ever found yourself saying things like, “if my childhood would have been different, I wouldn’t have these issues”, and “if my Dad didn’t have such a horrible temper, I wouldn’t either”, and “so-and-so talked about me, so I am justified to be angry and bitter” or “my husband just doesn’t measure up to my standards, he’ll never be the man I want him to be, so it’s okay that I am doing what I’m doing”….on and on it goes.  The blame game.  We’ve all played it, and in fact, there has probably been some truth in statements like these that we have made.  Who we are today, truly has been greatly influenced by the people and events in our past.

But, does it do any good to blame my great-grandmother for my harsh and hurtful tone of voice?  Sure, she may have been verbally abusive to my grandmother and her siblings while they were growing up, but does that justify any hurtful words I could say to my own child?  Does the fact that I was tempted to do wrong and yielded to the temptation release me from the guilt of wrongdoing?  Can I come before God and say, “Well, Lord, you know the temptation was just too strong, and I couldn’t help it.  If so-and-so wouldn’t have enticed me to do wrong, I never would have done it….it’s their fault, not mine.”  How does God view the blame game?  Does He play it?

God is holiness, goodness, and love personified.  There is not a trace or shadow of sin in Him.  He is 100% purely righteous.  And to answer the question as to whether or not He plays the blame game, let’s study the first man He ever created….the inventor of the blame game, if you will.  Adam was created in God’s image.  Since we know the character of God, it is safe to say he was created holy, good, pure, and righteous.  Along with being made in the image of Almighty God, Adam was also created with a free will…a mind of his own…to make his own choices and chart his own life’s course.

God provided for all of Adam’s needs…right down to realizing it was not good for him to be alone.  Beginning with one of Adam’s ribs, God created a woman for Adam….to comfort him, to help him, to be his soul mate.  They got to live in a perfect paradise….everything they could ever want or need was right at their fingertips.  They didn’t have to work or figure out how they were going to make it through life; all of that was given to them freely by the hands of a loving God.  He gave them only one rule…just one.  Don’t eat of the fruit on a certain tree.  That’s it.  They could have anything else they wanted, anytime they wanted it.  But of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were not to eat.

One day, Eve was in the garden; the Bible doesn’t tell us where Adam was or what he was doing.  She must have passed by the forbidden tree alone and vulnerable.  Unfortunately, satan is always on the job, and seeing his chance to tempt and beguile, he began to talk to Eve.  She paused for a little too long; listening to his deceptive lies, gazing at the beautiful fruit…wondering what it might taste like….wishing God wouldn’t have given them such a rule.  Why rules, anyway?  Why couldn’t they just be free to do anything they wanted?  Why the restriction of not being able to have everything they wanted? 

After a little more talk, satan convinced Eve that surely God had made a mistake, and it wouldn’t hurt anything to eat the fruit, even though he knew full well that God had said an emphatic “NO”.  The more he hammered away at Eve, the weaker her resolve became.  Evidently, Adam wasn’t looking, so why not?  Why not go ahead and indulge and see what it tasted like?  She could always hide the fact that she had done something she knew she shouldn’t have.  So, she caved.  She took a bite, and oh, wow!  It tasted good!  She must have stood there and wondered why God had withheld this from her.  “Adam!  Adam!  Come over here and taste this!  It’s wonderful!” must have been something similar to what she said. 

Instead of standing firm and saying, “No, Eve, that’s wrong.  What have you done?”, Adam succumbed to the pressure, too.  The temptation was just so strong, and surely God would understand.  I don’t know how he reasoned it out in his own mind, but the bottom line is his resolve to do the right thing crumbled.  He ate.  As soon as he did, he realized the gravity of the wrong he had committed.  Now, he had ingested the knowledge of good and evil.  Now he had a consciousness of right and wrong, and his innocence was gone!  The fellowship he had enjoyed with God was broken, because he was no longer in his image, and sin had become a part of his nature through his disobedience.  His new found conscience pricked him!  Oh, no!  What had he done?  How would he react when God made his daily visit to talk with him?  Surely, he had to hurry up and hide himself and his wife, so God would never find out what they did! 

Adam and Eve scrambled and made themselves clothes and hid.  Maybe God wouldn’t come by today!  After all, they were hiding, and maybe He would just pass right on by without figuring out where they were, much less what they had done.  You and I know something that apparently Adam and Eve didn’t…..you can’t hide from God.  He sees EVERYthing.  He misses nothing.  Hebrews 4:13 (KJV) says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”  Purely open and transparent…we are to God.

God saw right through their carefully constructed hiding place.  Right through the clothes they had hurriedly sewn together.  Right down below the surface into their very soul.  God began to question them and call to them.  He knew all along every, single thing that had transpired that day, but he gave them a chance to admit it all to Him.  “Adam, where are you?” God asked.  “I was afraid and hid myself, Lord.”  Adam replied.  “Why?  Did you eat the fruit of the forbidden tree?  I told you not to.”  God’s anger was stirred.  Then the very first round of the blame game began.  “Well, Eve gave me the fruit.  It’s her fault.”  It was true.  Eve did eat the fruit first.  She did give Adam a bite.  What she didn’t do is hold a weapon to his throat and force him to eat it, too.  God moved on to Eve and questioned, “What have you done?”  “Well, Lord, the serpent tricked me.  I was deceived into eating it.”, Eve replied.  God moved on to the serpent, and the buck stopped there. “Because you have done this, I am now pronouncing punishment on you.” 

Whew!  Could Adam and Eve breathe a sigh of relief?  They were off the hook, right?  It was all the devil’s fault, God was speaking directly to him telling him what his repercussions would be, and that was it, right?  After all, if he hadn’t tempted her, none of this would ever have happened.  Justice was served.  Now things could go back to normal.  Great! 

But, wait!  God turned to the woman!  “Now Eve, here’s your punishment.”  God wasn’t playing the game.  As you and I know in our enlightened state of mind, God doesn’t play games….period.  Eve was dealt a severe penalty for her little taste of sin.  Every woman after her would suffer for it…oh, Eve, what were you thinking?  Did you ever count the cost?  Had you any idea how serious the repercussions would be?  Did you really think blaming the devil would exonerate you from any consequences?

Lastly, God turned to Adam…this masterpiece of creation that He had created in His Own image.  What disappointment He must have felt!  Not only had Adam disobeyed, he had tried to cover it up, and then went on to blame his own disobedience on his wife.  God said, “Because thou has hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it….” and then He went on to declare Adam’s punishment.  It too was severe. 

The bottom line is…we are all responsible for our own actions.  We are all tempted.  The grass always looks greener from a distance.  We automatically long for what we can’t have.  Unfortunately, satan is very aware of all of this.  The longer we gaze at forbidden fruit, the more we listen to satan’s lies, the weaker our resolve becomes.  Little by little, it sounds better and better.  Friend, let me tell you.  Sin is not worth the end result.  You might think, “It’s just a little taste.  It won’t hurt anyone.  I’m the only one it will affect.  No one else will ever even know.  I can keep it together, and life will be the same.”  Oh, no it won’t!  Never again.

After it is all over, you can find all kinds of people to blame.  They, in turn, can blame someone else for causing them to do what they do and being the way they are…on and on it goes down the line, until at the end of the blame game the only one left standing is satan himself.  Will that absolve all other players in the game from any wrongdoing?  Will God say, “It’s okay.  I know you never would have acted this way if your great aunt Susie hadn’t done what she did.” or “I know you wouldn’t have had that attitude if your husband was different”, or “I understand your wife drove you to yield to that temptation.”  The answer is no.  Blaming others for our wrongdoing will never excuse our actions.  It didn’t work for Adam or Eve, and it will not work for you and me.

Thankfully, Someone paid the penalty for our sins.  We have a Savior, who even though He was NOT guilty, even though He NEVER sinned, hung on a cross almost 2000 years ago, and instead of playing the blame game said, “I am guilty”.  Unlike Adam, and Eve, and you, and me, He didn’t place the blame….He took it.  He sees right through all of our pretenses and hiding places, and He loves us anyway.  Why not stop blaming others, and simply receive the gift of forgiveness He offers?  He took the penalty for every sin you ever committed, and your debt has been paid in full.  There’s no need to point the finger at anyone else ever again….He already took the blame.

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