Blameshifting … believing we are merely the victim of chance, circumstances, biology, or the actions of others can lead to hopelessness and despair. How can we help others and ourselves respond in ways that are pleasing to God and lead to peace, joy, blessings, and genuine life change?
Also read about Daniel’s incredible prophecies, the challenges of praising God in the midst of life in a fallen world, and see another example of how the Old Testament and the New fit together in one story … God’s story.
Daniel 7 & 8
2 Peter 3.1-18
How Blameshifting Leads to Despair
Provision Not Entitlement
“If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.”
Faithful leaders are those who judge fairly. They don’t allow the poor to be taken advantage of because of their poverty, but neither do they make special allowances for them because of it.
Notice I said allowances, not provision. The Bible clearly talks about providing for the genuinely poor. Farmers were to leave behind some of their produce so the poor could gather it. If you read the book of Ruth you see a beautiful picture of this. And other passages in Proverbs and elsewhere clearly say that we should have compassion for the poor (Prov.14.21, 31, 19.17, 21.13).
I would love to expand on that idea of the “genuinely poor,” but that will have to be the subject of another post. Suffice it to say that we have allowed an entitlement attitude to take root in our nation that has hurt people more than helped them.
Blameshifting & Finger Pointing
But the other issue is that we have too often allowed poverty, a lack of education or some other kind of hardship be an excuse for sinful behavior. Consequently, blameshifting and finger-pointing are at an all-time high. No one wants to take responsibility for his or her own actions.
Girls aren’t responsible for sexual misbehavior because their fathers “weren’t there for them.” I’m not saying it doesn’t influence behavior, but it doesn’t determine it. A bad or absent father may be a stumbling block or make it easier for his daughter to sin in that way, but she can still choose to do what’s right and is responsible for her choice.
Young people aren’t to blame for getting involved with gangs because they “just want to belong.” Single moms and poverty are to blame instead. Again it’s true that the breakdown of the family has contributed greatly to the condition of our culture, but as individuals, we are responsible to make wise and right choices.
Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right (Prov. 20.11).
Thieves are not to blame for their actions. Poverty and a lack of education are to blame.
Drunkards are not responsible for bad behavior and fatalities. They have a disease, alcoholism, and lawyers stand ready to defend them.
Blaming others and circumstances has become so ridiculous in the legal system that we have a catch-all term for it, a “Twinkie Defense,” based on the testimony in a murder trial. The lawyer claimed his client was not responsible for murdering two people because of his depression evidenced by his eating of junk food.
Just watch the news and it’s easy to see that blameshifting ultimately leads to anger, justifying sinful behavior, more poverty, and broken wasted lives.
It may seem harsh to say the alcoholic isn’t sick, rather a drunkard. But drunkenness is sin and sin can be repented of, forgiven, and real change can take place.
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6.9-11).
Such were some of you … past tense. Instead, drunkards are told, “You’re an alcoholic, you’ll always be an alcoholic. And just to be sure you remember, we want you to stand up every week and say ‘My name is _____ and I’m an alcoholic.’ ”
Real change can take place as a sinner (saved by grace) learns to rely on the power and grace of God, put off the actions of the old man and put on the new righteous actions of the new man (Eph. 4.22-24).
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 2.18).
That’s not to say a former drunkard should justify drinking, even moderately. We need to be wise and stay away from things that have the power to enslave us again.
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Cor. 6.12).
But believing we are merely a victim of chance or circumstances or biology or the actions of others leads to hopelessness, despair, and ultimately, behavior that is self-destructive, harmful to others and offensive to God … in other words, SIN.
And ironically, doing what at first seems harsh, putting the blame where it belongs, can lead to real change … spiritually, emotionally, and circumstantially in people’s lives.
Even if our particular circumstances never change, we can have God’s peace (Phil. 4.7). We can also experience the joy and blessings that come from walking in obedience.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn. 15.10-11).
Today’s Other Readings:
Daniel 7 & 8:
God’s Control of World Events
Just like Revelation in the New Testament, the book of Daniel boldly demonstrates God’s complete foreknowledge and control of world events. In chapter 7, God gave Daniel a dream with the same prophetic meaning as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue (Dan. 2.31-35). The four beasts represent the same four empires. Daniel 7.9-14 talks about the second coming of Christ, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven” (v. 13).
In chapter 8 the ram with the two horns was the second empire represented by the chest and arms of silver on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue—the Medo-Persian Empire. The ram was overcome by a goat with a large horn, which would be Alexander the Great and Greece. The horn that was broken off foretold the early death of Alexander the Great and the four horns which took its place, Alexander’s four captains who would assume power. The vision also foretold of great persecution that was to come on His people and the church of God.
But it doesn’t stop there as we’ll see over the next couple of days.
Worshiping God in a Foreign Land
Verse 4, “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”
The people of God found it very hard to worship and praise Him while they were in a foreign land. We, too, are aliens and strangers in this world, and our worship and praise are tempered by the struggles of living in a sin-cursed world. But, one day when we stand before Him and all the troubles and trials of this life are gone, we will worship Him without hindrance forever!
2 Peter 3.1-18:
Looking Forward to a New Heaven & a New Earth
The New Testament writers, including Peter, wrote of the same future events that Daniel foresaw.
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (v. 13).
Do you believe God is in control of the world in which we live? Do you believe He is in control of the events of your life? Have you been tempted to blame others rather than take responsibility for your own actions and trust in the sovereignty of God?
John 16.33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
God made each of us to be overcomers, not in our own strength, but by allowing Him to work in and through us. He gives us the grace to forgive and the faith to see His sovereign hand guiding our lives even when it doesn’t make sense to us.
In the next few days, we’ll talk about false teachers, friendship, judgment, the Rapture, the Tribulation, parenting and Christian fatalism.
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Getting ready for 2018 with a Chance to Win a Bible & Journal
The holidays are just around the corner and the new year will be on us before we know it. What will you do to make Bible reading and prayer an ongoing habit in the coming year? I’d like to encourage you to set a goal to read through the Bible and to sign up for my daily encouragement. This year I’ll be adding Scripture-based prayers to each day’s post. If you sign up before December 15 you’ll have a chance to win a MacArthur Daily Bible and a journal to record your thoughts and those Scripture-based prayers. Email subscribers will also be automatically entered into a drawing for monthly giveaways throughout 2018.
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Start today so you can begin the habit and it will be a regular part of your day come January.
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