Blame-Shifting and Finger-Pointing

The activities that serve as the title for this week’s article are, as some have said, “the only exercise some people seem to get.” Indeed, it seems that our society is set on these activities as a favorite pastime and, for some, their main purpose in life. We are a very litigious society, ready to sue someone at the proverbial drop of a hat [which might be yet another cause for suing someone], looking to lay the blame for some perceived fault that caused a loss, personal distress, sorrow, pain, and suffering. We seem to want very badly to find someone to blame — anyone. Except ourselves.

      While such a strategy may occasionally find success in taking the responsibility off of self and ‘legally’ transferring blame to another, such will not be the case when we stand before the highest Judge in the final judgment. While we may still desire to shift the blame and point fingers at someone else, God’s word tells us plainly, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10), and, “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:10, 12). Then, there will no opportunity to shift the blame or successfully point a finger at someone else to shoulder the responsibility for what we have done here on earth. We will all give an account for what we have done, and everyone else will answer for what they have done.

      Knowing this, it would be in our best interest to live accordingly, for no matter how strongly we might want things to be different in that final judgment, God has spoken, and it will not change. As the Scriptures teach us, “God is a just judge” (Psa. 7:11), that man is well aware of “the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 1:32), and that God is known as “Him who judges righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23). With God, “there is no unrighteousness in Him” (Psa. 92:15), and, as Elihu correctly noted, “Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice” (Job 34:12). Whatever judgment we face, it will just in every sense of the word, it will be righteous, and it will be final.

      Furthermore, when we realize and acknowledge the fact we will each have to give an account for what we have done, we should be more motivated to stop the blame-shifting and finger-pointing. Doing such is essentially useless in the big picture, and will do absolutely nothing to remove our guilt. Oh, it may ease our conscience for a time but, to God, it does nothing about the need for being justified, free of the guilt of sin, and standing before Him identified as truly righteous. So, with that in mind, let us consider some of those we tend to blame for our failures, and why they are not responsible for our actions.

      You Can’t Blame God. It seems to be that more people than ever want to blame God for their failures, and that makes absolutely no sense. Included in the number of those blaming God are, strangely enough, some who claim they don’t even believe God exists! [Apparently, such ones who do so do not realize their inconsistency.] But, there are many who do claim to believe God but who, at the same time, blame God when they fail, when they suffer, or when they experience loss.

      First, when it comes to sin, God does not lead any man to sin; that would go against the very nature of God to do so, yet there is a popular belief that God directs every action of man, so their logical conclusion is, when they sin, it is because God directed them to do so. Not only is that argument illogical; it is also quite blasphemous! James tells us plainly, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (Jas. 1:13, 14). If anything, God wants us to not sin, and He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins, giving us the very means of escaping the punishment for the sins we have committed. This being true, why would He then lead us to do the very thing He hates? God does not cause us or lead us to sin!

      Second, this same erroneous view of God that says He directs or causes every thing to happen — every action of every man who ever lived — also leads men to blame God for natural disasters, car crashes where drunk drivers are involved, infants dying of cancer, the loss of loved ones when they were young, job losses, the loss of material wealth, and on and on we could go. Men love to blame God when these terrible things happen and, again, even some who claim to not even believe God exists.

      I am sure the devil is laughing at the foolishness of men who blame God, when he knows it is he who is responsible for much of the misery in this world. It was because of his work that sin entered into this world, and every form of pain, sorrow, and suffering followed and continues until time ends. Don’t blame the wrong one for the pain, sorrow, and misery in this world!

      You Can’t Blame the Devil. Flip Wilson, a comedian popular in the 1960s, used a catch line as a joke in several of his comedy sketches: “The devil made me do it!” That phrase became very popular and is still well-used, but it is not true. Again, we are trying to shift the blame to one who, while certainly involved in leading us to sin, cannot make us sin. Remember, James told us, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (Jas. 1:13, 14). While the devil may work hard to learn what our desires are, and then use them against us, he cannot make us sin; we do that when we give in to our desires and do that which God says is sin. Even the devil cannot make us sin.

      You Can’t Blame Others. And as hard as we try and as much as we would like to blame others for our failures, it again comes back to us. Others may make us so mad we end up cursing and using foul language, but they did not make us; that was our choice, our response, and our failure. The world may set pornography and sexually-suggestive entertainment before us, but the world cannot make us think of immoral actions like fornication, adultery, and other sexual sins; if we go down that road, it is because we chose to take it. No matter what the temptation and no matter what the sin, it all comes back to self. We can blame no one else but self when we fail God and we sin.

      The One to Blame: Self. I am the only one to blame when I sin, when I fail God, or when I fail my brethren. I alone will be accountable for what I have done (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10, 12), and I will even have to answer for my motives (1 Cor. 4:5). While others may certainly play a part in either leading me into sin, causing me to believe a lie, or directing me to follow the wrong path, and while they will have to answer for their part in that, I will still have to answer for my choices. In that final judgment, I may want to shift the blame, but I am to blame if I have sinned. I may want to point fingers at others who led me down that wrong path or set an enticement to sin before me, but I must answer for how I responded. I will be the only one who will have to answer for what I have done.

            God sent His Son that we might not have to bear that guilt of sin, but it requires a choice by us to submit to Him. If I refuse, I will have only myself to blame.          — Steven Harper