Written Word

As a Christian, I should not blame others

What do Adam, Eve, Aaron and King Saul have in common? They all blamed someone else for their sin and never took personal responsibility for their action. Let’s see. When sin made its entrance and God confronted Adam, Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” And in her defence Eve replied, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13) Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent; it was everyone else’s fault. Sound familiar?

The same line of denial continued in later generations. Israel grew impatient waiting for Moses to arrive, so they made their own plans and constructed a golden calf to worship. When confronted by Moses, Aaron defended himself by saying, “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us… They gave me the gold, I threw it into the fire, and out came the calf.'” (Exodus 32:22-24) At no point did Aaron accept personal responsibility. Instead, he blamed the people saying, “these people are prone to evil”. He further attempted to distance himself from the event by saying that he put the gold into the furnace “and out came the calf”. Aaron was saying, it’s not my fault, others are to blame. Saul received clear instructions to destroy everything possessed by the Amalekites – so far, so good – but he spared “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good”. (1 Samuel 15:9) When the prophet Samuel confronted him, he defended himself by saying, “The soldiers took the sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to the God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord our God at Gilgal.” (vs. 21) Saul was in denial, refusing to take personal responsibility for this act of disobedience. It was the soldiers’ fault; they’re to blame. And, in an attempt to gain some credibility, he said that they intended to offer the animals as sacrifices to God.

Adam, Eve, Aaron and Saul all made bad choices and then blamed others. But the same is happening today. For example, a person makes a commitment to the Lord and is baptised; he becomes part of the local church. Later telltale signs begin appearing: irregular attendance with the church, conversation that indicates a disinterest in spiritual growth and behaviour inappropriate for a Christian. And if you listen carefully you will hear excuses being offered to justify that unfaithfulness: pressure from peers; the pressure of work; the many demands on their time; their overcrowded schedule. Put the blame anywhere except where it belongs.

The God revealed in the Bible is a God capable of sustaining his people, keeping them faithful irrespective of how severe their difficulties or how pressured their lives. Paul says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) The text tells us three things about God: (1) our God is a faithful God; (2) our God won’t allow a temptation to come our way that is stronger than we are able to endure; and (3) our God will always provide a way of escape.

Our culture has little respect for the ways of God and, as a result, sin is all around us. But so is God’s divine power and strength. None of us needs to become another spiritual casualty. It’s not a requirement that young Christians “sow their wild oats” or that older Christians have “a mid-life crisis”. Every day we are faced with making a choice to live for God. We choose to obey or disobey. And when we are disobedient, we have only ourselves to blame – no one else. And should we try to justify our behaviour, we place our name alongside Adam, Eve, Aaron and Saul.