The scream. The searing scream of your child in pain. You jump from your soap opera and rush into the kid’s room to find four-year-old Sally bawling her eyes out and covering her nose. Jimmy, your eight-year-old, stares at you with pleading eyes. “Mommy, Sally wouldn’t give my toy back.” In other words, it’s her fault that her nose is bleeding.
The screams. Children running in terror as a mad man shoots up their classmates. Children die senselessly. Political figures come running and we hear, “Get rid of guns to fix this.” In other words, it is the guns’ fault those children are dead.
The inner scream. Women accused of seducing men, causing them to lust and sin by a suggestive move, stance, or article of clothing. Some religious types come running, “If you hadn’t worn what you did, you wouldn’t have been raped.” In other words, it is her fault the man lost control of himself and had his way with her.
A scream of shock. A woman finds out her spouse cheated on her. Confronted, the man comes running with finger pointed. “If you’d provided for my needs, none of this would have happened.” In other words, it is her fault he cheated on her. She only has herself to blame.
The blame game is popular in our society.
Truthfully, it always has been so. Adam, when God had confronted him about eating from the tree, said, in effect, “It’s that woman you gave me! It’s her fault.” In other words, “God, none of this would have happened if you hadn’t created that woman.” From the first known sin, the blame game has existed.
Is it then any wonder that among Christians, who tend to be very good at this game, they will ignore the responsibility of the sinner and point fingers at the author who either inadvertently or intentionally increased the temptation to sin. Pulling out Romans 14, they point the blame on an author who offended a “weaker brother” with cussing or a suggestive scene, totally ignoring the fact they are taking that scripture out of context and shifting the blame from where it should belong—on the one who sinned—and attempting to dismiss their moral shortcomings by pointing to the source of temptation: the victim and/or the tool used.
Can someone be wrong for unnecessarily increasing temptation?
Yes, if they intentionally did so. But temptation is common to all men and women. It will come, and the fact you were tempted to sin doesn’t release you from the responsibility of committing the sin. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Own up to it. Otherwise, you cannot be healed; you cannot be saved.
Jesus came preaching repentance, not whose fault is it. He expects us to love one another as He loved us, willing to give His life to save us. Not point fingers and deflect blame. He’s called us to be sheep, not goats who say, “When did we do these things? You must be mistaken. We are not to blame for what happened.”
We need to pray this Orthodox Lenten prayer until our attitude is adjusted and we’re more focused on our sins than avoiding them:
O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.
But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
and of love.
Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.
This article originally appeared on R. L. Copple’s blog on January 15, 2013.