“So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?””
Romans 9:18-20 NLT
Paul introduces the word “blame” into his writings. If there is anything that man is good at, it is playing the blame game. And God is not immune from accusations, allegations, and the blame for things when they go wrong. Paul warned his readers that it is a bit much for the created being to blame their creator. How can a person have the gall to say that if God made me, what does He expect if I behave in an inappropriate way. Such a response or attitude is something to invite a lightning bolt from Heaven, zapping us out of existence. Thankfully our Heavenly Father is not just loving but He is patient with us as well.
Why do people blame God for calamities that affect them or those around them? We always need to find a reason for things that happen outwith our control, things that can be devastating, life threatening, and so on. The sudden or unexplained death of a loved one. A medical diagnosis bringing bad news. A car accident that produces a life changing outcome. A national disaster or change of government. Or perhaps disasters we have no control over and yet may have affected us deeply. Often, people blame God when the rest of the time they don’t even acknowledge that He exists. They never go to church. They never pick up a Bible. If they are asked, they may even deny that there is such a Being as God. But to then subsequently blame Him for the cat being run over in the street is bizarre. It’s not just individuals who apportion blame to our Heavenly Father. Insurance companies refer to “Acts of God” in their policy documents. This often appears in “Force Majeure” contract clauses, eliminating their liability, should an unforeseen event occur.
Arguing with God, or blaming Him when things go wrong, is not a new phenomenon. Isaiah wrote in 45:9-10, “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’” However, Bible readers will also have read Isaiah 45:7, “I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things”.
When we blame someone for a situation that affects us and those around us, we are finding fault with them. So if I fall over an obstacle such as a discarded pair of shoes, I blame the person who left them in my way. They messed up. Their untidiness and neglect literally caused my downfall. If we extend blame to God for something that happens, or doesn’t happen, then we are effectively saying He messed up. But nothing is further from the truth. We should remember what Paul wrote to his Roman readers. “Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” In other words, what right do we have to question our loving Heavenly Father, who made us?
Who or what, therefore, is responsible for the disasters that inflict the human race? If not God, then who? There is only one answer really. It has to be the impact of trying to live in a world blighted and corrupted by sin. The wars, caused by arrogant and selfish national leaders. The cost of living and commodity shortages caused by greed. The disputes with neighbours due to a failure to communicate and compromise. The sudden cancer diagnosis, the loss of a job. The list is endless. Should God intervene? Or bring healing? Or stop a war? I’m sure He does sometimes, but most of the time sin has to take its course. So we pilgrims stay close to our Heavenly Father, truly grateful for His grace and mercy, keeping short accounts. Only in God can we find the answer to life’s problems and struggles. As the old song says, “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”. Oh, about that pair of shoes – I’d better put them away before someone falls over them!
Dear Father. Please forgive us when we try and blame You for negative events and times of uncertainty. Please help us to see what is going on, or what has happened, through Your eyes, because Your perspective is all that we need. Thank You. Amen.