Monday, November 9, 2015

The Grateful Heart: Accepting the Blame

I'm still reading in Genesis and finding more than I wanted. The lesson today slashed right to my heart, so I'm sharing it. 

You probably remember the story of Abram and Sarai and Ishmael. The short version is that God promised Abram he would have a son. He and his wife waited well past the childbearing years, but still no son.

She did what I might have done. She gathered data, interpreted it, and, on the basis of her faulty interpretation, she made a plan. God had promised Abram a son. Sarai was too old to be a mother. She would provide a mother to take her place so Abram could have a son. Her decision made an odd kind of sense to her, and Sarai thought she was doing a good and noble thing. 

God had a plan that required the situation to be utterly impossible for the greatest effect. 

Sarai blew it. After the child was born, there was chaos, and disrespect, and grief in their home.

What happens next is what a fair number of us would likely do. 

Sarai did not say, "Wow, Abram, I have made a mess with my foolish choice. How can we make this better?" She did not say, "I'm so sorry for my error." No. Sarai, once again, took matters into her own hands. She yelled at her husband and blamed him and the maid for the consequences of her own decision. (Genesis 16)

Her failure to accept her share of the blame made the situation worse instead of better. 

I do that sometimes. I want my mess to be the result of someone else's poor decisions. I tell myself "I made the best decision I knew to make", as if God would not have told me His will if I'd waited. When I refuse to accept responsibility for my error, my sin, I rob myself of the sweet balm that comes from confession and cleansing.

David found that there was not only relief, but power, in acknowledging his error and accepting the blame. "I know my transgressions," he admitted, but he didn't stop there. "Purify me... create in me a clean heart." (Psalm 51) David's confession didn't prevent consequences for his bad decision, but it made those consequences much easier to bear. Confession restored his relationship with God, and it was the first step through the mess he'd made. 

Let's not forget that the forgiveness of God is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy. It is only possible, however, if we are willing to confess our sins and receive His cleansing. For today, let's look at the difficult situations in our lives, acknowledge our errors, and turn to the only One who can wash us white as snow. 

The good news is that God's supply of forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption never runs out. I've confessed a mountain of sin over the years, and, despite my best efforts, will likely have another mountain to confess before my life is done. 

Today, I'm giving thanks for the river of God's forgiveness, cleansing, and redemption that never runs dry, no matter how big a mess I make. 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
In case you missed any of the past week's posts, here are the links:  The Grateful Heart: Orchestration of GodThe Grateful Heart: Avoiding DistractionMaggie: Eye ProtectionMaggie: Wanting Eye DropsGrateful Heart: Superheroes and Missions Conference and The Blessings That Were Not

The most read posts of the past week: The Grateful Heart: Orchestration of God
#forgiveness #repentance #Jesus #itwasmyfault #imsorry   photo courtesy of