Are you looking for someone to blame? Don’t be ashamed. We all are. It’s our human history. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. And we’ve been dodging blame ever since. We even created an elaborate system of killing animals who might carry our sin instead of us. Sacrificing others is easier than taking responsibility.
I see it every day as a therapist and pastor. I watch couples sum up all their problems as an issue their spouse must fix. In fact, I’ve been blamed over and again over the years myself by the very people I’m trying to help! And, just ask my wife, I’m mighty skilled at the blame game in my most important relationship.
Lent is an invitation to look at ourselves. If we’re honest, we’ll agree with Paul Tripp that the DNA of sin is self-deception. I’ve heard that people in our American culture are the most self-assured, certain, and sure people in all of history. I don’t doubt it, particularly when I hear politicians talking about us as if God had chosen minivan driving, hamburger eating Americans over any other people in the world to be the hope of the world. I thought that title was reserved for Jesus.
We’re adept at having things figured out. Lent invites us to confess the opposite – that perhaps we’ve missed it. Maybe my boss was right about my laziness. Maybe my spouse was right about how distant I am. Maybe some Muslims are right about how greedy and arrogant Americans are. Maybe the gay community is right about how judgmental Christians are. Maybe Republicans are right about how ineffective government is. Maybe my pastor is right about how addicted I am. Maybe Paul Tripp is right about how self-deceptive we are.
We like to blame. And we’ll sacrifice anyone else, even an animal, before we fall on the sword. Lent invites us to fall on the sword, with one caveat. In so doing, we participate in the redemptive death and life of the One who led the way, who refused to play the blame game, and who would undo the sacrificial system in one crushing blow – through his own death and resurrection.
For Jesus, it’s game over.
Choose the way of Jesus. No more games, particularly blame games.