Is it just me, or does it seem we have become an even greater culture of blame? A local football coach goes off on a verbal rampage and says his outbreak was not his fault. Looters ravage stores saying it’s the fault of an injustice. Politicians blame other branches of government, special interest lobbying, and voters for poor outcomes. A person clumsily spills hot coffee on themselves and blames the restaurant because the coffee is hot?!? A frequent fast-food customer blames their burger joint for their weight gain. It seems no one is taking responsibility for their own willful action or choices.
What is even worse is, according to a USC and Stanford University study presented in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, blaming is contagious (click here for the study). What this study revealed is as we observe others passing blame we want to do the same. This is accentuated in our informational, on-line, always-connected-to-media culture. We see someone pass blame and we can feel compelled to do the same. We see this contagious blame in the Bible, right in the beginning as Genesis 3:6-13 says where Adam blamed both God and Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent for their choice to do what God had told them not to do.
The problem with this blame cycle is that we get caught up in the bind of the cycle and rarely move towards resolution or progress. An employee keeps blaming others, their boss, or their working conditions and not that much gets solved. Even if the work conditions are poor or there are problems with the boss, the energies and efforts are spent on placing blame and being right about the blame, and not used to go down the proper channels to create change or get the work done.
Yet there is a way to pull out of the blame vortex and move on in life. It’s called confession and repentance. I know, not popular words because it says I am at fault, I am culpable, guilty as charged, responsible. But there is a release when we accept blame, take responsibility for own our actions and repent (meaning turn) from going one way to go a different way. This release of repentance is where healing can start, progress can be made, and oh, does it feel good to confess.
Psalm 32:1-4 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
Blessed means happy! Happy are we when we are forgiven. ‘Selah’ means to pause and think about what these verses are saying to us individually. According to this Bible passage, when we give into the bind of blame it brings internal turmoil. Yet the release of repentance brings joy.
Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You (God), and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
The Bible is clear…
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To confess to God is to agree with Him that the action or thought is wrong. Once we own this infraction and stop doing it (repent) we are forgiven, cleansed, and refreshed from the weight of the issue. Now sure there are consequences and damage control when we do wrong, but God no longer holds that against us.
Psalm 103:11-13 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His (God’s) steadfast love toward those who fear Him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.
That sweet sense of being forgiven is so freeing. We are released from the weight and inner chaos of our mistakes. Blame only binds, but confession and repentance bring refreshment. Let’s seek the freedom of confession and repentance.
Seeking the refreshment of repentance with you,
PS This past Sunday August 30, 2015 I preached on this topic as we continued our Sunday teaching series, “Wrestling with God in Prayer – Those intense internal interactions with God’s Holy Spirit about life.” This Sunday was on prayers of confession from Psalm 32. If you would like to listen that sermon please go to our website: www.cypresschurch.net