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Christian Living

It’s Not My Fault: Playing the Blame Game

Blaming Others for Our Mistakes Comes from Our Sin Nature

Jeremiah prophesies judgment against the people in Jerusalem for their idolatry. God has had enough, and he will punish them for turning from him and pursuing other gods. Specifically, many women are burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out their drink offerings to her.

Interestingly, the Queen of Heaven only shows up five times in the Bible, all in the book of Jeremiah, with four occurrences in this chapter alone. From Scripture we know nothing about the Queen of Heaven, except that some people worship her instead of God.

When confronted over their spiritual adultery, the people aren’t convicted of their sin. Instead, they double down and pledge to continue worshipping the Queen of Heaven.

As far as the women taking an active part in this idolatrous worship, they refuse to take responsibility for their actions. It’s not their fault, they insist. They blame their spouses. Since their husbands knew what they were doing and didn’t stop them, it’s the guys’ fault.

Adam and Eve

Does this blaming of others sound familiar?

It first happened back in the Garden of Eden, with the very first sin in the world. Adam and Eve do precisely what God told them not to do. They eat fruit from the one forbidden tree.

When God points out their mistake, Adam blames his wife. “She gave me the fruit,” he says.

Eve follows his example. She blames the serpent. (See Genesis 3:1-19.)

Their example continues throughout history. When caught in wrongdoing, people seek to shift responsibility to someone—or something—else. Though we might attribute this to human nature, it’s more correct to call it sin nature. When our sin is uncovered, we add to it by sinning again when we try to deflect our fault elsewhere.

Even Moses did this.

Variations of the Blame Game

Adam blames his wife for his sin because she gave him the forbidden fruit.

The women in Jeremiah’s time blame their husbands because they knew what their wives were doing.

Today we see more ways to play this blame game.

One version is, “but everyone else is doing it.”

A second form is, “it’s my parent’s fault,” also known as “it’s the way I was raised.”

A final one is “I was born this way.”

We also point an accusatory finger at our environment, circumstances, or socioeconomic conditions.

But when we sin, the only true responsibility falls to us and us alone. We did it, and we are at fault.

When we sin, the only true responsibility falls to us and us alone. We did it, and we are at fault. Click To Tweet

Fortunately, we don’t need to let the weight of our sins break us. Jesus died as the permanent payment for our mistakes. When we follow him and become his disciple, he takes away the penalty of our sin and makes us right with Father God.

Thank you, Jesus, for taking away our sins.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jeremiah 41-45 and today’s post is on Jeremiah 44:19.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Moses Blames the People for His Mistake

Not Taking Responsibility for Our Actions Goes Way Back

We often shake our heads in dismay over people who refuse to admit when they have done something wrong. Instead they want to blame others. They refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes. This is not a new development. Even Moses, who spoke to God face-to-face, had this problem.

Moses blames the people for what he did wrong.

Here’s his story.

Moses’s Failure

After Moses leads God’s people out of Egypt into the desert, they’re thirsty. They clamor for water. God tells Moses to go to a rock and speak to it. Then water will pour out of it for the people to drink.

Moses does go to the rock, and he does speak to it, but he also whacks it with his staff—something God didn’t tell him to do. God sees this as a lack of trust on Moses’s part. Because of Moses’s failure to completely obey God, he won’t let Moses enter the promised land (Numbers 20:2-12).

This seems a bit harsh, but that’s what God determined.

Moses Blames the People

Fast forward about forty years. God’s people are ready to enter the land he promised to give them. Moses has them ready to take the territory. They’re poised to move forward, camping at its border.

Moses then recaps what’s happened over the past four decades. He reminds them about their journey and reiterates some of the laws God gave them.

Then he tells them he won’t be going with them. Instead Joshua will lead them. Joshua will realize what Moses had hoped for, what he worked hard to achieve for forty years.

Moses is bitter over this. But instead of admitting he disobeyed God, that he sinned, he shifts the blame. He blames the people for his failure. He says, “It’s because of you, that God is angry with me” (Deuteronomy 3:26).

Yup, that’s right. Moses blames the people for his mistake.

We can’t truly repent when we blame others for our mistakes. Click To Tweet

Blaming Others

Of course, playing the blame game didn’t start with Moses. It goes way back to the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve committed the first sin by disobeying God, their second sin was trying to shift blame.

Adam blamed Eve instead of admitting his own error, and Eve blamed the serpent instead of assuming responsibility for her role in committing the first sin.

Blaming other people for our actions is a moral shortcoming that is the result of sin. Failing to take responsibility for what we have done and pretend that someone else is at fault is another sin.

Repenting so that we may follow Jesus acknowledges our sin, our mistakes, our failures. To repent is to regret what we have done, to be sorry. But we can’t truly repent when we blame others for our mistakes.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 1-3, and today’s post is on Deuteronomy 3:26.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

It’s Not My Fault

We live in a society of blame. People shun taking responsibility for their mistakes and shortcomings. Instead they blame someone else: “It’s how I was raised,” “He talked me into it,” “It’s her fault not mine,” “If only I had a better education,” “I had no choice,” and so forth.

In doing so, they fail to take responsibility for their own actions. They attempt to pass their error onto someone or something else and thereby avoid God’s censure for their sin.

In God’s perspective, that’s not how things work. Each person is responsible for the things he or she does. Through Moses, God said that each person would die for his or her sin, not the parents but them.

Fortunately, Jesus offers a different solution: Saving people from their sin.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 16-18, Matthew 1-4, and today’s post is on Deuteronomy 24:16 and Matthew 1:21]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Three People Who Played the Blame Game

Once, when the Israelites were in the desert and thirsty, God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would pour forth. Instead, out of anger towards the people, Moses hit the rock with his walking stick. Water still gushed out, but God was displeased over Moses’ lack of following directions.

Moses’ punishment was that God would not let him go into the territory he promised to give the nation. After forty years of faithful service, one mistake cost Moses dearly.

Deflecting our faults onto others doesn’t remove the consequences.

Deflecting our faults onto others doesn’t remove the consequences Click To Tweet

When it came time for Israel to take the land—without Moses—Moses blamed the people for God’s anger with him and punishment.

Moses, however, wasn’t the first to play the blame game. Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate fruit from the one tree God told them not to. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent. Even so, they still received punishment for their disobedience: God kicked them out of the garden.

It may be human nature for us to blame others for our mistakes. While doing so may deflect our faults onto others, it doesn’t remove the consequences. Just ask Moses, Adam, and Eve.

[Check out Numbers 20:7-12, Deuteronomy 4:21-22, Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Genesis 3:12-13, Genesis 3:23-24.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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