Thanks to the wonders of the internet in general, and MLBTV in particular, Tuesday night I watched the Cardinals play the Pittsburgh Pirates from the frozen tundra of western Pennsylvania (they actually had to clear snow from the outfield grass). The game was back and forth, the lead changing hands several times. In the 4th inning, with the Cardinals winning 5-3, the Pirates loaded the bases with 1 out. The next batter grounded a hard hit ball to the Cardinal shortstop for what appeared to be a tailor made double play that would get the Redbirds out of the inning still leading by 2 runs. However, the shortstop failed to field the ball cleanly and rather than getting two outs the Cardinals didn’t get any. The Pirates tied the game and later went on to win in extra innings by the score of 6-5.
This morning I read the St. Louis Post Dispatch online and saw that many in St. Louis were blaming the loss on a couple of questionable calls made by the umpires in the game. Of course, “kill the umpire” is not exactly a new thought in baseball. Since Abner Doubleday invented the game back in the mid 1800’s, umpires have been some of the most despised people on earth. And while the umpiring in the Cardinals-Pirates game wasn’t exactly favorable to the Cardinals, the real reason the Cards lost the game is simply this: an error on the Cardinal shortstop allowed the Pirates to score 2 runs they shouldn’t have scored. The Cardinals lost the game because of their own mistake.
Blaming the umpire is hardly the only time in life that we are guilty of trying to shift blame away from ourselves. We live in a culture today where few people will stand up and take responsibility for their own actions. For some, no matter what happens, bad results are ALWAYS someone else’s fault. They simply refuse to acknowledge any wrong on their part. Often times this is learned behavior, for many is the parent who refuse to acknowledge that their child could do something wrong. Little Billy got a “D” in math? Well, that must be the teacher’s fault rather than Billy’s. Billy then learns early in life that no matter what he does, there is always someone else to blame.
While we can often trace this behavior to our environment, our ‘nurture’, we must also acknowledge the role that our ‘nature’ plays in such an attitude. The truth is that men have ALWAYS blamed their mistakes on others. In fact, this behavior goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden! When God confronted Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12, NKJV). While it may appear at first that Adam was trying to blame Eve for his own transgression, he was really blaming God! After all, God put her in the garden with him!
Eve was no different. “And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13). You see, it wasn’t Eve’s fault she ate what God had told her not to eat. Eve was the very first in the world to use the line that the late comedian Flip Wilson made famous, “The devil made me do it!”
Sunday morning we will continue our series entitled “God Games” and we look at the ‘who done it’ game called Clue. As we will see, Jesus made clear in the Sermon on the Mount that we are responsible for our own sins. According to Jesus, the answer to ‘who done it’ is easy: WE done it! The only question is whether or not we will take responsibility for our actions, repent of our sins and live our lives in faithful obedience to God and His commands.