Monday, December 15, 2014

The Blame Game

image used under PDArt Public Domain license,
photo obtained from
Thanks to our bout with the flu, we've decided to cut back our schedule slightly. With this post, we get back to our regular Monday posts.  Our weekly LifeNote will be, as usual, will be on Thursdays.  Our Wednesday guest posts, tech posts, and videos, as well as our regular Friday post will all be moved to Saturday.  And, on that one, whatever hits the light of day is what will be shared.

Recently, I reshared a graphic on Facebook that asked why we are so focused on helping illegal aliens when so many of our own children were homeless and not being fully helped, yet.  The ensuing conversation quickly degenerated in ways I wouldn't have thought possible.

Our illustration is from the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, painted by Michelangelo.  The portion depicted is where God instills life in Adam.  In my mind, that stretches beyond creation because, in reality, God is always reaching out to man to draw him higher.  Michelangelo may have depicted it with caucasian models.  That's all he knew.  Very much like early African art depicted only people of color because that's all the artists knew.  No one should claim any of these artists were racist, And neither is God.

Think about John 3:16, which tells us "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.".  There's no black, white, red, brown, or yellow in that statement.  The only separation is those who believe and those who don't.  The power of salvation is given to bless those who have it and be used by those who do have it to draw others.  God isn't prejudiced.  All are offered the gift.

Part of that conversation suggested I wasn't acknowledging what my ancestors had done to blacks. My response was to point out that my relatives on both sides of the family came from places where there were still no people of color then, moved to areas in the US where there weren't people of color, and were too busy eking out a living to do anything to people they'd never met.  The answer was, perhaps, a little simplistic.  But I wasn't about to take on guilt for things I didn't do and couldn't control.

Dr. Laura isn't my "go to" person for spiritual wisdom, but she does sometimes get it right.  There's a graphic that was posted the same day as that "discussion".  It quoted Dr Laura as saying "Don't blame your behavior on someone else.  You are 100% responsible no matter how bad you are feeling or what's happening in your life.".  Just as much as I shouldn't be held responsible for what I can't control, I need to take responsibility for what I can control.  So should you.  The world and the flesh are willing to lay blame and point fingers, ignoring Romans 3:23.  "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;".  I don't see any exceptions there, do you?  Which makes us all responsible for being available to God to help fix the mess we as people have made.

Back in the day, when I wasn't walking with God, I made a move to Houston, Texas.  If I'd been thinking, I might have realized that I needed some training (and maybe more experience) beyond what I had to succeed in my then chosen field.  And a change of scenery wasn't enough to change that reality.  Anyway, I made the move with not a huge amount of money.  The apartment I could afford for myself and the young lady with me was in a nice, but predominantly black apartment complex.  A month later, my partner was mugged.  That event had me in the complex office, spouting all kinds of things about how my prior civil rights activities were misguided.  And I ought to get a gun.  I'm sure they were quite happy to let this crazy person out of his lease and get him far away, by the time I got done.  I was thinking and responding like anyone else with the world's mindset.

There's a lesson to be learned from that.  Fear will latch onto the easiest identifier.  Skin color, facial structure, style of dress, etc.  It doesn't matter what your own skin color or other identifying characteristics are, there are two realities.  Those who are similar become "my people".  The rest are all suspect.  That's part of the nature of fear.  So, because someone from one group did something to someone in a second group, say fifty years ago, some in the second group today will distrust anyone with the appropriate identifier for the first group.  Fear removes the personal positive connection.

We've said before that some variation of "fear not" is mentioned often enough in the Bible to be our daily mantra, given by God.  There's a reason for that and I'm not sure God fully intended the message only for believers.  Although it's intended first for the Israelites and the church, the declarations to not fear aren't hidden.  Much like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are intended for a specific audience, but also are hoped to be a guiding light for others.

When a person is mentally or emotionally disturbed (and certainly fear can be disturbing), it's recognized that intellectual capacity is affected.  Fear hinders thinking with God.  And, for the unbeliever, it hinders thinking about God.  When someone with the wrong identifier says something, those in the other group don't believe it.  The first person, rightly or wrongly, has gained no trust. Think with me what that does for relations between groups, races, nations, whatever.  It puts a wedge between people and, therefore, a wedge between people and the Gospel.

The reality is that fear hinders relations between people, between races, between nations, and with God.  Fear is one of Satan's best tools to create separation.  That separation and that fear are barriers to receiving blessing.  Which is what Satan wants.  So, what are you doing, today, to tear down the barriers of fear, to bless those who seem unwilling to receive blessing, to kick the devil's backside?