— By LOU TISCIONE
A common malady of mankind is selective amnesia. When problems occur or plans aren’t working, our first impulse is to find the one who is to blame. The last place that we look is ourselves.
No matter what the issue, political, church, and home, etc., the cause of failure or dysfunction is always, it seems, pursued outside of ourselves.
For example, construction projects reflect man’s tendency to shift the blame.
I remember several stages through which a project passes. One of the stages is called “reward of the non-participants.” Another is “persecution of the innocent.” Within each stage is an activity called “fixing the blame.”
When a problem causes work to stop, an effort ensues to find someone to blame rather than fix the problem. It doesn’t seem to matter if the blame was deserved. The important thing was to hold someone else responsible for the problem; thereby relieving oneself of any responsibility.
“Fixing the blame” is not only reserved for construction projects or other worldly activities. We can even include political elections in the mix. Fixing the blame is as old as Adam and Eve. Adam sought to blame God for his failure.
After all, it was God who gave him the woman. (Genesis 3:12) Adam’s argument didn’t impress God. Adam bore the penalty for his sin and the entire human race inherited his sin nature. Human beings do not like to be held responsible for their actions.
God viewed man’s desire to fix the blame and said, “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine; the soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:2-4)
God said to not fix the blame, or deny responsibility, was like a father eating sour grapes and his child experiencing the sour taste. God said that is not so. Rather each one is responsible for his sin. Denying our responsibility will not make it go away. We will all stand before a holy God and give Him an account for our own actions.
The way Lord and GOD are typed in your Bible is very important. Lord means Adoni, Master and the Sovereign One. GOD, with all capital letters, signifies the personal and covenant name of God, Yahweh and The Great I Am.
Yahweh is a form of the Hebrew verb “to be.” (Exodus 3:14) God declared that He is Yahweh, “I am who I am.” The only true God, the sovereign Creator, the triune God fully revealed in Jesus who referred to Himself as “I Am.” He will hold each one accountable for his actions.
The fact of man’s responsibility was written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Rome. “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile), but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). For God shows no partiality.” (Romans 2:9-11)
God’s holiness requires that He act with perfect justice. God, as the apostle declared, does not favor any nationality, position, or individual person. All are judged based upon His perfect standard. His judgment is final. God never “winks” at sin.
The end of the Bible has these terrifying words of judgment. “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Revelation (20:12)
Every human being deserves punishment for sin. We deserve punishment because we are responsible for our actions. The only way to be spared from God’s wrath is through Jesus perfect life and sacrifice. He is the only appeasement of God’s wrath. Jesus alone paid the price for sins. We all deserve hell. But, God is rich in mercy. Jesus took the blame for His people.
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Rev. Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).