Blame shifting, shifts power. Avoiding consequences and discipline robs us of the sweet fruit of character. In 1 Samuel 15:13-31 we see an example of blame shifting and its consequences.
King Saul was commanded by the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites. He was ordered to destroy everything and every one. All the livestock, people, and royalty. However, he disobeyed. Notice his excuse as he is confronted with his disobedience; “And Saul said, ‘They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” (v. 15) and again in verse 21, “But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed.” When confronted with his sin, he blamed the people. No matter how many times and ways he tries to blame others, it was still his problem.
Saul lost his kingdom because he did not obey. Samuel passes judgement on Saul in 1 Sam 15:26 , “you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” I have often wondered, what if Saul had owned up to his mistake?
King David, Saul’s successor, is an example of a man who, when confronted with his sin, owned up to his mistake. Interestingly, David, though he sinned, was “a man after God’s own heart.” 2 Sam chapters 11 and 12 tells the story of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah. David lusted after Bathsheba, got her pregnant and tried to hide his sin. His attempts to hid his sin drove him to conspire and murder Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. The prophet Nathan confronted David on his sin and instead of hiding and blaming someone else he confesses. David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” David owned his sin.
David later writes in Psalm 32, “When I kept quiet about my sin, my bones wasted away from crying all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as in the hot summer. I told my sin to You. I did not hide my wrong-doing. I said, ‘I will tell my sins to the Lord.’ And You forgave the guilt of my sin.” David was disciplined for his sin, but he remained king of Israel.
In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. In my personal opinion, one of the reasons God did not strip David of his kingdom was because he confessed his sin and opened himself up to discipline.
Discipline does not feel good; but the Bible teaches that it is for our good (Heb 12:3-11). If I told someone that God’s discipline is a blessing, they’d probably cringe because of the paradigm we have regarding discipline. The truth is that discipline grows Godly character. One of the worst things that can happen to a believer, or unbeliever for that matter, is that God allows us to live without correction. Because disobedience is a one way street ending in death. Saul lost his kingdom and his life by his own hands because of his sin.
As sons and daughters of the king we will make mistakes, however we can chose to blame others for our shortcomings like Saul or open ourselves up to the blessing of discipline. We can learn from our short comings and become better people. It’s one of God’s crafting tools. In order to take advantage of this invaluable tool we have to take a good long look at ourselves.
Have you ever been around someone that always blamed others for their problems? It happens all too often. Hear are some excuses that I have heard personally and recently:
“It’s my spouse’s fault that my marriage is bad”,
“I didn’t get promoted because they didn’t like me”,
“Our economic problems are caused by immigrants”,
“I can’t get ahead because the wealthy make too much money”,
“My business failed because of my employees (or investors)”,
“I can’t get ahead because of the unfair judicial system”,
“My kid isn’t a thug, they just hang around the wrong crowd”
“I didn’t do well in school because the teacher couldn’t teach”,
“I’m not growing spiritually because the pastor can’t preach”
You’ve probably heard some of the same ones, probably more. As long as we have King Saul’s mindset, we will never ask ourselves the question, “What can I do to be better? How can I improve myself? How can I prepare myself for the next opportunity that comes?” Those questions empower us to overcome the obstacles of everyday life.
God gave every believer a mandate. We are to subdue the earth and everything in it. He gave us power and authority over demons and strongholds. That’s not a mandate for wimps. Christ’s blood washes us clean so that we may become a holy habitat for His Spirit. It is His presence in us that gives us authority. But, we rob ourselves of the authority Christ gave us on Calvary by playing the victim. As long as we play the victim we will remain powerless. We were created to be better than that.