Jude 24-25. 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Blame. It’s been the name of the game since the beginning of time. You remember the story don’t you? Adam and Eve sin and rightly deserve blame. But what does Adam do when confronted with his new found shame? He blame-shifts. “The woman (blame-shift #1) that you (blame-shift #2) gave to me to be with me, she gave me the fruit and I ate.” Adam blames Eve and he even blames God himself – “you gave her to me, God.” Eve in turn blames the serpent. And so the never ending cycle of blaming others begins.
Blaming others is what we do best. It’s our default posture. Rarely have any of my problems been my own fault. My wife’s fault? Yes. My parent’s fault? Definitely. My children’s fault? Sometimes. My co-workers? My boss? The politicians? Other religious groups? People with different ideologies? The socialists? The conservatives? The fundamentalists? The progressives? The whites? The blacks? The LGBTQs? The men? The women? China? Yep. The problems of this world are everybody’s fault but my own. And Twitter (or the church parking lot) is where I make sure everyone knows who’s to blame.
But why do we turn so quickly to the blame game? Why does our inner lawyer seek so quickly someone to prosecute? The answer from Genesis 3 is shame. Our shame produces our blame. And, of course, our sin, and failure to perform, produces our shame. Shame is one of the most powerful forces in every heart. Shame from being “less than.” It causes us to hide. Sometimes very literally. But more often we hide our own failures by pointing out the failures of others. No one wants to face the scrutiny of others so we hide our own lives, and divert people’s eyes to someone else’s even bigger dumpster fire life.
So what about you? Who are you currently blaming for all the problems you face? Even the problems that you actually created for yourself? How do you deal with your shame? Your failures? Your “nakedness?” Your insecurity? Your objective guilt (yes, we are all actually guilty)?
Are you still taking a page out of Adam and Eve’s playbook? Are you covering up with fig leaves? Hiding in the bushes? Blaming God? Blaming those who don’t love you and those who do? Are you constantly saying “look over there,” so that people will stop looking at you? Do you place yourself next to those who are “worse” than you, so that you look better? Do you hide your shame behind Instagram and Facebook photos that make your life seem amazing (or just normal)?
Are you, like Adam and Eve, trying to prevent failure, and the shame that comes with it, by mastering good and evil? By outweighing your bad with your good? By avoiding failure through isolation and complacency? By religious acts of self-denial? By constant confessions and commitments to change?
Are you, like Cain, dealing with your shame by simply eliminating its source (your Abel)? Are you eliminating the one or ones (church) that you’re convinced are judging you and making you look and feel bad about yourself? Have you failed to see that your problem isn’t Abel, it’s your own sin that is “crouching at your door”?
But what Jude sees, and hopefully you do too, is that Christ offers us a blameless existence. How? By taking the blame for us. All the blame shifting in the universe has ultimately shifted all the blame onto him. Jesus went to the cross carrying all our guilt. All our faithlessness. All our failures. All of our gross immorality. All of our hate, and envy, and pride. For centuries humanity has tried to shift all the blame onto God. On the cross God took that blame. In the darkness, Jesus cried out – It’s all my fault! Pour out the cup of wrath. Your will be done.
Now, as Jude declares, through Jesus Christ our Lord, God is our Savior. And by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, God will keep you from stumbling. He will hold us fast. He will never let us go. He will fiercely protect and defend his children. And he will present us a blameless on that final day. We will stand before him without guilt, without condemnation, without shame, without blame, and without any fear or dread. We will stand before him in perfect joy. Perfect peace. Perfect love.
“To live is Christ” allows us to live this blameless life. No more blame means no more blame shifting. No more excuses or cover ups. Just perfect love allowing us to both take responsibility for our lives, and, at the same time to turn our lives over to Jesus. The one with all glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
How much blame shifting do you do? In your marriage? Family? Friendships? Workplace?
You in Christ
Do you believe that your blameless before God? Why or why not?
Christ in you
How might you live differently if you were to be free from all blame and therefore all blame-shifting?