“It’s Not My Fault.”


Excuses, excuses, excuses! We live in an excuse-prone society. Criminals are excused from crimes because society supposedly did them an “injustice” or they had an unhappy childhood. High-ranking officials in government are excused from their actions because of their positions. Crooks are excused from paying honest debts due to the lenient bankruptcy laws.

And it’s not just criminals.  We all have a tendency to give a reason for every bad thing that happens. It’s as though we need to defend ourselves or try to paint ourselves in a positive light for every scenario. We seem to come pre-programmed with a need to avoid blame, and at times – we will even throw someone else “under the bus” to avoid getting into trouble.  

Unfortunately that attitude is not only used by the world, it is becoming more prevalent among Christians. For example, many will excuse their disobedience in the matter of tithing by saying they just can't afford it. Others excuse their failure to read their Bibles and pray by saying they just don't have time.

Since the very first man and woman, it has always been convenient and guilt-relieving to blame someone else for our actions or circumstances. When cornered by God for breaking the commandment God had given Adam, Adam’s excuse was that Eve gave the forbidden fruit to him, so he ate it (Gen. 3:12).  Eve’s justification for committing the first sin was, “… The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Gen 3:13). Too often, the way out of avoiding guilt for criminals as well as ourselves is saying it’s not our fault, and putting the blame on someone else. 

As we read what the Bible teaches us about this blame game problem, we will be motivated to quit making excuses for our problems and mistakes (sins), and start serving Him with all of our might. Let's determine to become problem solvers - not excuse makers!

1. Joseph was a young man who was sold into slavery by his own brothers.  Here is a great example of a Bible hero who could have played the “blame game,” and said that everything bad that happened in his life was his brothers’ fault.  Read Genesis 45:1-15 to see how Joseph responded when he finally met up with his brothers again.
  a) Did Joseph find it easy to admit his identity to his brothers? 
    (vs. 1-3)
  b) How did Joseph’s brothers respond to the news?
    (vs. 3)
  c) Did Joseph spend time accusing and blaming his brothers for what had occurred, or did he retaliate for the unfairness he experienced?
    (vs. 5)
  d) What guidance does Joseph provide for responding when we believe something bad that happened to us was someone else’s fault?
    (vs. 9-15)

2. Read Genesis 39.  Again, Joseph experienced unfair treatment when he was unjustly accused by Potiphar’s wife.  He ended up in Potiphar’s prison, and it would have been quite true to say it was somebody else’s fault that he landed in jail.   However, instead of whining and complaining, Joseph used this time to serve Potiphar within the prison system and to serve God.
  a) What was the secret of Joseph’s success?
    (vs. 2-3)
  b) How did Joseph’s success affect Potiphar’s situation? 
    (vs. 4-5)
  c) What made Joseph’s responsibilities difficult?
    (vs. 6-7)
  d) Was this an isolated event?
    (vs. 10-12)
  e) How did going to prison affect God’s blessing on Joseph?
    (vs. 21-23)

3. Now read Judges 11.  Jephthah had a difficult childhood. His mother was a harlot or, by the terms of today, a prostitute.  As if that wasn't enough, he was disowned and disinherited by his family because of it. 

But Jephthah didn't sit around complaining, feeling sorry for himself, and blaming others for his bad luck. Instead, Jephthah gathered a band of men, and operated somewhat like David and his men did during the period described in 1 Samuel 25:4-8, protecting cities and settlements from marauders and receiving pay from those whom they helped.

  a) When Ammon made war against Israel, what did the elders of Gilead ask Jephthah to do?
    (vs. 5-8)
  b) What did Jephthah ask for in return?
    (vs. 9-11)
  c) Was Jephthah successful?
    (vs. 32)
  d) What are we told about Jephthah in Hebrews 11:32-34?

4. One Christian from a less than desirable background used it to excuse his sinful behavior.  Another Christian from a nearly identical background used his situation growing up as a motivation to serve God and minister to others.  How do you explain the difference?

5. What advice would you give a person operating under the “Not My Fault” thinking error?

Continue to Chapter 5

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