West London Alliance Church

TBT@ITT: What Have You Done vs. Who Is To Blame

Originally posted January 3, 2009:

I was at my sister's place last night and after dinner my sister and her husband and my wife and I talked. As is usually the case, with 9 children between the two couples, our conversation covers many topics about our children. Their activities, growth, idiosyncrasies, strengths, and flaws all make their way into the conversation. Such was the case last night.

My brother-in-law told us about a habit of one of his boys which is a default mode his son falls into whenever he is getting in trouble. When his parents question him about what he has done he always begin with who is to blame. When he comes up from the basement crying his parents ask him "What happened?" and his response begins with the sibling's name who he wishes to blame. He is not as concerned about what happened as he is with declaring who is to blame. That is an interesting quirk. And I have seen it in my kids as well.

This morning I was reading from Genesis 3. Here is the paragraph that caught my attention:

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the coolc]"> of the day, and the man and his wife H)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-64H">hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”d]"> And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, I)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-66I">because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, J)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-68J">“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, K)" data-cr="#cen-ESV-69K">“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

After eating from the tree in disobedience to God's command, God had 3 questions for Adam and Eve: Where are you? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat? What is it that you have done? None of these questions should be answered by an indication of a person. And yet, in guilt, Adam replies to God's question of "Where are you?" by pointing a finger at God and saying "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid,". Then when Adam is asked if he has eaten from the tree the first words out of his mouth are "the woman". Answer the question, man! And Eve, when questioned about her role , in like manner, responds with "the serpent". Having been given responsibility over all of creation before "the fall", they would not take responsibility for their actions after "the fall".

Now, drawing these parallels from the conversation with my brother-in-law and God's Word is pretty fascinating. I must admit, I even began gloating over my discovery the more I thought about it. But then I realized, the point of the exercise was to show me that this is what I do. And it's true. My first reaction when I err(read sin) is, like Adam and Eve and my nephew, to blame someone else. The gloating stopped, quickly. When it comes to the blame game, I need look no further than than the tip of my nose.

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