Chocolate Digestives, Blame And Drawing The Line.

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(Photo Credit: Chris Vreeland)

I blame my big brother for my love of chocolate – apparently when I was a few hours old he stuck a chocolate digestive biscuit in my mouth as I sounded hungry. So any chocolate related weight gain must be Big Bro’s fault….

I have been thinking a lot lately about blame – there is such an easy tendency to blame other people for our problems and for our wrong choices. Where do we draw the line at and acknowledge our own faults and sin choices?

It is our in built sin nature that points fingers to other people – Adam and Eve did it. Adam straight away said it was the women you made God who made me eat the fruit – in one fell swoop blamed both Eve and God Himself. Eve straight away blamed the serpent.

Genesis 3: 9-13 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

I remember a teacher in primary school when there was a fight or disagreement would get each party to tell their side of the story, but they had to start the story with ‘I did…’ or ‘I said….’ It was so hard to figure out how to blame someone that way!

It can be hard to accept our responsibility for our sin and our mess ups. Often a lot of what we do we justify by the things people have done to us. I don’t want to minimize the horrible things people have done to each other – yes that does have an effect, it does create a reaction in us (God sees that hurt and it does matter to Him) – but where do I draw the line in my ownership of my wrong choices? If the blame is always passed then the motivation to change can be lost in being the one sinned against, rather than realizing that I’m also one who sins.

So I ask today:

Psalm 139. 23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I am also mindful that Jesus once drew the line – for the women caught in adultery – and it was a line of grace and forgiveness.

Help me Lord to take responsibility for my wrong choices, and the things I do that sin against you. Thank you Lord for your forgiveness and grace.

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Naughty Finger

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(Photo credit: Shovelling Son)

 

 

 

Jenny’s favourite word at the moment is naughty – everything is naughty and gets told off (I wonder where she learnt that???). What I have noticed is that she is incredibly quick to blame and scold others for everything – especially when it was actually her doing.

When she trips over anything she goes back to the object or spot on the ground, gives it a smack and calls it naughty. Last night she was bouncing around the living room, tripped over her Dad’s feet and then proceeded to scold naughty Daddy.

I remember going to the cinema when I was little to see one of the Superman films (yes a long time ago – I think it was Superman iv!). We took my friends little sister for her first every cinema trip. After the previews she stood up to go home not realising the film had not even started. When she sat down her seat had sprung up so she landed on the floor. She immediately stood up and shouted at her sister for moving her chair. We are so quick to point the finger and blame. ‘I’m hurt and it is your fault’ even though the wound is often self-inflicted.

Adam even went for the same ploy when trying to talk God round after the fall:

Genesis 3:12  The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Did you notice that – finger pointing and excuses right at the start of sin? Adam said God it was the woman you made’s fault. Really he was saying God it is your fault! How quick we are to pass the blame and point the naughty finger.

Instead we need to examine ourselves and point to ourselves.

Psalm 139: 23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Lord, help me control my naughty finger and help me to take responsibility for my actions, good or bad.

If you want a sermon that deals in part with finger pointing I really found this one helpful by Chuck Warnock

The me in we

‘Where did we put my socks?’  ‘Do you remember where we put my passport?’ Questions like these and similar are common in our house. The thing is ‘we’ didn’t put the socks anywhere – hubby put them wherever they are all by himself! It is funny how when things go missing or go wrong we seek collective responsibility for the loss. When there is a problem to be solved it is easier to be a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’. I was reminded of this over the weekend when ‘we’ lost a formula on the spreadsheet.

This happens in so many areas in our lives, not just drawing other people in to help us solve things, but often in blaming others as well. I remember a teacher at school refusing to listen to you tell a tale of playground trouble if you started the sentence with ‘He’ Or ‘She’ – it always had to be ‘I’. It is harder to point the finger when it begins with you.

In our spiritual walk we also like to share collective blame where possible – sometimes we pass it onto the Devil. I once heard a joke about a lady who came home with an expensive red coat. Her husband was not happy so she said quickly ‘The devil made me do it!’. The husband replied ‘Why didn’t you say ‘Get behind me Satan’. Sheepishly she said, ‘I did, but he said the coat looked great from behind also!’

Other times we try to blame God Himself – I have been guilty of praying and asking God why did you allow me to get into this situation when I have known fine rightly that it had been my choice. Taking responsibility for our choices is sometimes hard, but it is a necessary step for correction and restoration.

When King David was confronted with his sin he confessed and owned it – he took responsibility for his wrong actions and choices:

Psalms 51:1-12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  2  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.  5  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  6  Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  7  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Although it is hard help me Lord to be straight with you – help me to take responsibility for my own choices and actions – to find the ‘me’ instead of the ‘we’.

The case of the poisoned goats

During the week we got a call from my hubby’s family up in Malawi – there has been some village drama and some accusations of poisoning. Two goats belonging to the family died, as they seemed to be foaming a bit from their mouths poisoning was suspected. A man seen shooing the goats away was accused and the dead goats left on his door step as an accusation. The case was to be heard by the village head women yesterday. The problem with the accusation is that it is not backed up by anything more scientific than speculation. We fear that blame may have been laid at the wrong door step. Other possibilities that have been over looked include the goats eating something they shouldn’t have rather than deliberate poisoning. Apparently sometimes goats get into the maize field and gobble as much dried maize as their tummies will contain, then once they drink water the maize rehydrates and expands causing the goat to die a horrible death.

The simple theory of naughty goats has been mentioned but have been dismissed by the family at home in favour of the more sensational crime of poisoning. The case will go ahead and I have no clue how the village head women will solve the dispute without the help of a vet. If is funny how when things go wrong we often favour the more sensational explanation that the plainly plausible. How often when someone sins do they say ‘The Devil made me do it’? Yes the Devil is real and desperately wants to trip us up so that we dishonour God:

1 Peter 5:8-9  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  9  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings

However we need to acknowledge that we ourselves are perfectly capable of dishonouring God without any help from the Devil:

Romans 7:15-20  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  16  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  17  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  18  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  19  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.  20  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it

I wonder do we give the Devil too much credit for doing the things we choose to do ourselves? But if we take this simple explanation, instead of the sensational one then we are left with no one to blame for our sin but ourselves. It is so much easier to say ‘If was him!’, than to put up our hands and say ‘Yes, it was me!’ So the question I ask myself today is do I fully take responsibility for sin and disobedience in my life or do I try to absolve my guilt by passing the blame? Knowing my Father in heaven is willing to forgive I choose to say ‘Yes, it was me!’