Three Fingers Pointing Back at You

by Tad Lindley

Before you read any further, I want you to take your hand and pretend that you are pointing at someone. Go ahead and do it. Don’t worry about what other people will think. Now look at your hand while you are pointing. Notice that there are three fingers pointing back at you?

The first man to ever blame his wife

One of the first things that Adam and the woman did after they fell into sin was to blame. When the Lord asked Adam if he had eaten from the tree, Adam could have said, “Yes, I sinned. I ate from the tree you told me not to. Lord, please have mercy on me.”

That’s not what he said though. The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12) Not only did Adam refuse to accept responsibility for his sin, but he pointed the finger at God and at his wife. What Adam did not realize yet is that when we point the finger, there are three fingers pointing back at us.

Unfortunately this habit of blaming has been passed down from generation to generation. Husbands blame their drinking and their adultery on their wives. Wives in turn blame their own sins on their children or their husbands or their parents. Fingers are waving everywhere in the world today. Just remember, when we point the finger at a family member, there are three fingers pointing back at us.

The problem with your neighbor

A quick way to figure out what is wrong with us and our attitude is to look around us. The things that other people do that annoy us, often are the very things we are struggling with. Jesus put his finger on the matter: And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew 7:3) In modern terms, why are you pointing out the splinter in the other person’s eye when you have a two by four stuck in your own eye?

Jesus goes on to say, Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam that is in thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5) If someone else’s stinginess bothers us, Jesus is telling us that we are probably stingy, and we better take care of that before we complain about them. When we point the finger at them, often we are even guiltier than the one we are accusing.

Quit blaming the devil

If you read the Genesis account, you will see that after Adam blamed both God and his wife for his slip up in the garden, the woman (she wasn’t called Eve yet) blamed the devil. The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. (Genesis 3:13) What the woman didn’t realize is that it wasn’t the devil’s fault: she was the one who ate the fruit. She thought she could divert the blame to the devil, but there were three fingers pointing back at her.

Perhaps this is a trait we have inherited from Eve. People love to blame the devil. The fact of the matter is people give the devil too much credit. The reason that you went to jail is not because the devil was after you. It’s because you quit going to church, started hanging out at the card games, and wound up drunk.

I even hear godly people blame the devil. I cringe when I hear it. Folks blame the devil for not getting the job they wanted. They blame the devil for the rude clerk at the store. They blame the devil for the engine not working. Often times people are pointing the finger at the devil, when they should be lifting up holy hands and praising God.

If anybody could have blamed the devil…

…it was Joseph. His family betrayed him; he was falsely accused of second degree sexual assault, sentenced to life in prison without parole, and completely forgotten by everybody, everybody that is except for God. Now Joseph could have sat himself down and said, “Boy, the devil is really after me. I can hardly stand to keep going.” But Joseph didn’t say that. You see he had a trust in God.

We want to serve a soft, coddling God who will let us stay the way we are. We cannot imagine a Jesus that would make us uncomfortable. And so when God does bring us through a struggle we blame the devil, when we really should be praising God.

In Joseph’s case, it was God who allowed him to be sold into slavery. It was the Lord who placed him in prison. All of this happened so that God’s people, Israel could rise to become a great nation. This was hardly the work of the devil. It was the work of almighty God. Joseph summed it up like this, But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20).

The blame game is a dangerous game to play. It rarely draws us closer to the truth. Instead we need to accept responsibility for our shortcomings and give God the glory for his ability to take adversity and turn it for victory.

Reverend Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.

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