Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
- James 1:22-25
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12
“The freedom of a creature must mean freedom to choose: and choice implies the existence of things to choose between.”
- C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Have you ever noticed that someone who yells, “It’s all your fault!” is usually the one who is at fault. Maybe not totally, but in most cases, the major contributor?
Sure, there could be exceptions, but…
The spouse that sees a child go wrong yells that at the other spouse, but was the yelling spouse the one who never took the word “parent” as a verb? Sure, when the other spouse did all the rearing, teaching, encouragement, and discipline, then who else is to blame? All the fingerprints on that child’s life are from the other parent. But God set the family up to have two parents. Abdicating your role does not leave you off the hook. And it hurts the other parent deeply when accused.
But maybe the child was as someone in my family would say “a wrong-un.” The C. S. Lewis quote comes into play. They just make wrong decisions. Maybe with both parents active in their lives, they would make better decisions, but the child is the ultimate one, in this case, who will stand before the judgment seat of God and answer for the wrong choices. The parents may have to answer for what they did do or did not do, but the child made those wrong choices.
In another situation, one parent is the disciplinarian, and the other parent coddles the children after the discipline is meted out. One of the children constantly gets into trouble. Why? He likes the attention once the punishment is over. The coddling produces bad behavior. Was the punishment too severe? Probably not, but if the child grows up enjoying getting in trouble, whose fault is it? Ultimately, the child made the choice regardless of the psychology of cause and effect.
I have been accused of things that happened in an industrial setting by the people that were at fault and since the boss liked the wrong-doer and had no time to investigate, I took the fall. Note: In office politics, polishing the apple on the boss’ desk can sometimes be more important than getting your work done. I found the practice offensive, thus becoming the group’s scapegoat even when I was not even involved in the project – guilt by not jumping in to help.
In each case when something went wrong in my life, I went to the mirror. What could I do the next time that would prevent this from happening? What did I do wrong? This led me to become a self-starter, but also a loner. Give me all the work and get out of my way, otherwise it will get screwed up. I hated working in a team setting. As a supervisor, I had those that I could trust; I had those that needed help along the way; and I had those that at some point I had to ask them for their work up to that point so that I could finish it for them, with my boss knowing that I had to do it to meet the project deadline. And how that last group survived, I will never know, with the boss blaming me due to the last-minute finishing of each project.
Yes, the one yelling “It is all your fault” knows full well that they are at fault – most of the time. Sometimes they could be delusional. But in most cases, it is a smoke screen to deflect the blame.
No, it is rarely all your fault. In a solo performance, you might think so, but even then…
And we do not carry the sins of our father nor our son before the judgment seat. We carry our own sins, unless they have been washed away by the blood of Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.