Thursday, November 22, 2018

Trying to Pass the Blame

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

In the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, Jesus pointed to the power of sin. Following this parable is an account of the ruler who asked Jesus what he could do in order to be saved, a tale that points to the deceiving power of sin in Luke 18:18–30. Thus, at this point in our series on the book of Luke, it is beneficial to take a few days to consider the doctrine of sin.

In Genesis 3, we see the first attempt by a human being to pass the blame. When God asked Adam if he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, Adam quickly replied that Eve had led him to it. When God asked the woman, she said she ate the fruit because the serpent deceived her (v. 13).

More importantly, however, we find that Adam was blaming God: “The woman you put here with me,” he said. Adam was inferring that God was responsible for his sin. God had created something that caused Adam to sin. Blaming God, blaming others, blaming our circumstances—all of these evasions of personal responsibility began in the Garden of Eden.

Ezekiel confronted the same tendency in his day. Those suffering under Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest were saying, “The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezekiel 18:2). In other words, we are suffering because of our fathers’ misdeeds, because God is unfair. God rebuked them for this attitude: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son—both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die” (18:3–4).

It is true, we suffer partly because of the sins of others and because of our ancestors’ sins, but this is a negligible part of the cause of our suffering. Our own sinfulness is sufficient to account for all distress we encounter.

Do you ever blame God or other people for your own circumstances? All of us slip into thinking this way more often than we wish. Have the courage to take responsibility for your actions instead of engaging in the art of blameshifting.