Blame Shifting

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An old saying says: “Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.” That’s a witty way of saying when things go well many people want to take the credit, but when things go badly no one wants responsibility. It has become the “go-to” way of justifying wrong, and sinful conduct. People who ruin their own lives have a strong tendency to blame other people when things go wrong.

For example, we see this characteristic back in the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve violated God’s law about eating from the forbidden tree. Adam blamed his wife, and Eve blamed the serpent. When God confronted them with their disobedience, Gen. 3: 12-13 says: “Then the man said, the woman You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate…And the woman said, the serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Also, think about the time when Moses rebuked Aaron for making a golden calf for the Israelites to worship. Aaron took no blame for his part in the sin. He said: “Do not let the anger of my Lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him. And I said to them, whoever has any gold, let him break it off. So, they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.” (Exo. 32). What an amazing example of shifting blame for sin this is!

Of course, other examples of such blame-shifting, could be multiplied. Indeed, success does have many fathers, and failure often is an orphan! One reason such blame-shifting is so bad is because people don’t really repent of sin as long as they avoid responsibility by excusing themselves and blaming someone else for it—and repentance is essential for forgiveness.

My friend, if you are willing to admit your failure to keep God’s law, that’s a step toward God’s forgiveness. Without admitting, and doing what God says to do about sin, one cannot be forgiven. (Psalms 32). Think on these things.

Dennis Abernathy

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