Vol. 4, No. 8
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We have all heard the expression "The Blame Game" in a variety of ways and in a number of different settings. Today men and women will go to any extreme to be free from the obligations enjoined upon them by God's Word. Paul addressed the Galatians, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). It is stated in an unqualified fashion that we must support and/or be in position to give assistance to a brother or sister that stands in need, either physically or spiritually. Jesus in a poignant way stated, "for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in, naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not" (Matthew 25:42-43). What a tragic commentary on the individual that was negligent in his duty to which Jesus would state, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me" (Matthew 25:44). Blaming others in an effort to justify our omission to bear one another's burden is the height of hypocrisy. Let us observe ways in which we play "The Blame Game."
1. THE BLAME GAME IS PLAYED WHEN HUMAN TRAGEDY, ILLNESS OR DEATH OCCURS. Countless times when faced with human suffering, illness or death, we hear scores of individuals cry-out, "It is God's fault." Being a Gospel preacher for thirty years has provided many occasions to hear of human tragedy among Christians and non-Christians, which has caused many to raise the question as to why God would allow such things to happen. While preaching in a Gospel meeting in East Tennessee, we were informed of a man who prayed earnestly that his son would return from the Vietnam War without being maimed and with his health in tact. The man's son did return safely, unscathed and physically fit. Yet, on the first day of his job, while working for the Tennessee Power Company, he climbed a power pole and inadvertently grabbed a wire that immediately electrocuted him. The father seized with grief cried out, "Where was God when my son was instantly killed?" Visiting the anguished stricken man, the preacher replied, "He was at same place when his son died a cruel death." God has given each of us the power of choice; wise decisions can be made and conversely foolish decisions can be made, and often are, to our detriment. Job, a faithful patriarch of the Old Testament, suffered the loss of lands, livestock, the death of all his children and endured great suffering. Job's wife declared to her husband, "dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die." Job's wisdom recoiled instantly, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips" (Job 2:9-10). Being a faithful servant to God made Job realize that there will be evil or adversity to manifest itself in our lives as well as the good things. When various degrees of human suffering occurs, what a lesson to be gleaned when we attempt to play "The Blame Game." Such is life and to cast aspersion on our eternal Creator is the height of folly. This writer has suffered with multiple sclerosis for six years, but playing the blame game is a pointless exercise. Life is full of adjustments to whatever circumstances may cross our paths; conversely, we are to harness the necessary wisdom to make the right choices (Matthew 12:30).
2. THE BLAME GAME IS PLAYED WHEN WE SEEK TO PLACE LIABILITY ON GOD FOR OUR OWN TEMPTATION AND SUBSEQUENT SIN. It is the epitome of foolishness to attach blame on our omniscient God when we are led astray and sin. How ironic it is when men and women will seek the escape hatch to place blame on our God in such a condition. Adam and Eve were given a direct prohibition to avoid and yea not even touch the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:3). God with amazing clarity could not have articulated his command in a simpler fashion, yet Eve did eat and gave to her husband and he did eat (Genesis 3:6). When their sin was made known to the eternal Father, the man cried out, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave to me and I did eat" (Genesis 3:12). What weakness in the moral fiber of the first man to initially blame God for giving him the woman and then place blame upon his wife? Eve then said, "The serpent beguiled me and I did eat." Now we see the futile attempt of Eve to cast blame on the serpent. But, now we see that the serpent had no one to play the blame game. God Almighty said, "Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly thou shalt go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (Genesis 3:14). Adam would pay the price of his sin by tilling the ground, which was cursed, and with the sweat of his brow would earn bread (Genesis 3:17-19). In contrast, Eve would have children with great sorrow and pain (Genesis 3:16). Everyone wants to play the blame game. Some in New Testament times were convinced that God was the reason for their temptation and subsequent sin. James writes, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (James 1:13-14). It would be amusing if it were not so serious for men and women to place blame on God when it is man that is the cause of his spiritual dilemma. Let us not play "The Blame Game" but recognize that frail mankind in all his glaring weakness has brought himself to the precipice of eternal destruction (Romans 6:23).
3. THE BLAME GAME IS PLAYED WHEN WE REJECT GOD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION. Paul gives a ringing reminder of man's role in the redemptive plan when he said, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation..." (Hebrews 2:3). Paul underscores the responsibility of man to the divine scheme of redemption by suggesting that we cannot escape its holy implication through neglect. Peter reinforces this same idea when he addressed those on Pentecost "and with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying save yourself from this untoward generation" (Acts 2:40). These words were not intended to convey to the audience they were at liberty to formulate or devise their own plans. Conversely, Peter's sermon provoked his audience to raise the question, "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Answering the query, Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit)" (Acts 2:38). The allusion made by the apostle to "save yourself from this untoward generation" validates the clarity of the command in verse 38. No one would question the role of God in making every provision for man's salvation; consequently, man has a role to play in his soul salvation as well. Paul summarizes the two sides in reference to salvation when he penned the words "for by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8-9). "Grace" is a term which embraces all the things that God has done to effect salvation, while "faith" comprehends everything that man must do to secure salvation. Salvation is not by "grace only" nor is it by "faith only"(James 2:24), but it requires both parts in order to have the security of salvation. The human side and the divine side are inseparably connected, as salvation cannot be brought to conclusion without both performing their respective duties. We will not be able to play "The Blame Game" by a repudiation of God's plan of salvation. Perhaps a million people were in Jerusalem for Pentecost and yet only three thousand souls were obedient and did not neglect "the great salvation." However, think of the teeming thousands upon thousands who were willing to take a pass on the stirring words of Peter and ultimately will play "The Blame Game." Yet, all the groaning, weeping, crying and complaining will not excuse us from the great salvation (Hebrews 2:3).
The Blame Game is an exercise in futility, and a waste of our precious time. Paul once wrote about the foolishness of procrastination; "Behold now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). Those who would relent to "The Blame Game" are simply attempting to exonerate themselves from the duty that has been thrust upon us. Let us not be overcome by this useless waste of energy.