Monday, February 4, 2008

The Blame Shift

About two weeks ago I was driving down I-275. In my daily travels this is the only road that has a rest area. I had the need to stop at this rest area on this particular day. As I came out to my car I noticed a car parked next to mine. It was a black 2007 Mustang. I got into my car and did my normal routine that I do; you know, check your cell phone for messages, adjust your seat, pray for a minute, get your Mp3 player set up, etc...

As I was doing this, the lady who owned the Mustang walked up. We made eye contact, and I nodded as if to say "hello," which is something I always do if I make eye contact with someone. As the lady went to get her bag into the back seat of her car, she went to open her door a little more, then WHAM! Her door hit my minivan pretty hard by the sound of it. I was debating leaving at this point, but I wanted to see her reaction to this issue. Her reaction was simple. Without batting an eye she continued to hop in her car.

I had a note to write down from one of my voicemails, so I decided not to leave. The woman looked over. She was about to back out, but I think she wanted me to leave first. I had some time to kill, so I continued making calls and doing some of my daily busy work. The woman did her hair, then her make up, then her nails. Keep in mind that this is at about 11:00 am, on a cold winter day. I could see that she was getting a little angry. I still had stuff to do, and no appointments, and I was really wondering if she was going to say anything at all about the door, so I continued to stay where I was. Well, after about 30 minutes, she revved her engine and sped out of the parking lot with a very clear "f--- off" being yelled in my direction. I could only assume that she damaged my minivan, didn't want to acknowledge her wrong, and didn't want me to see her license plate by the reaction she had and how she drove out of the lot.

The other day, Andrea and I decided to preview Spiderman 3 to see if the kids could watch it. I saw a very similar thing play out on screen. Peter Parker's job was being threatened by a new photographer, Eddie Brock. Eddie will do anything it takes to get the staff photographer job at the newspaper. Finally, the boss issues a challenge; "the first one to get me a picture of Spiderman showing him for the villain that he is gets the job. I want Spiderman caught with his hand in the cookie jar!" We all know that Spiderman is not going to commit a crime. Peter tells Eddie he will never get the shot, and Eddie comes back with a "we'll see about that."

Later in the movie Eddie produces a picture of Spiderman stealing money! He ends up with the staff job, but Peter knows better. Peter confronts Eddie of his sin, and produces evidence to prove that the picture Eddie used is a fake. This gets Eddie fired from his job and leaves him hopeless and vengeful.

Eddie does what most hopeless people do. He prays. He goes to a local church and kneels before a cross and says, "God, I want you to do one thing... kill Peter Parker!"

Isn't this an interesting thing. It is interesting to note how often we see it in scripture. Jesus tries to point out the sin of the Pharisees and they respond with hate. Right up to the cross He spoke truth to them, but still showed them love, and their reaction was "Crucify, crucify!"

As I sit to type this, I have a number of incidents flooding my head. I have youth in my youth group who hate me right now because they got caught in a sin the God wanted them to get caught in. I have people at work trying to claim rights to commission for things that I have done. I have people talking behind my back about my work in order to preserve their own jobs. I have people trashing me for trying to live a godly life. I have family who despise me for no reason at all.

In the end of it all, I think about a couple of things. How easy it is for us to shift our blame. The woman in the Mustang did the wrong. She slammed her car door into my minivan. I did nothing wrong, yet she left screaming at me. Eddie Brock lied, and falsified a picture to get a job, then asked God to kill the person who pointed out his crime. People always lay the blame in the wrong area.

It reminds me of two men in the Bible. I could use Saul and David. Saul is confronted and shifts blame. From there he sees David growing in the eyes of the people. He becomes angry with David and spends pretty much the rest of his life in pursuit of him, trying to kill him. This ultimately ends in his death.

David, on the other hand, has an affair. He tries to cover it in several ways which ultimately end up in murder. He is confronted with his sin. The prophet lays out the story for David and he burns with anger at the thought of the injustice. The prophet then reveals that he is the one who causes the injustice. David's reaction is one of repentance. Instead of shifting the blame on someone else, and laying his hatred on Nathan, the prophet, David owns his sin and repents.

May we all be like David...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I was in Florida all week

Boy was it rough!!!