“The soul who sins is the one who will die.”
Ezekiel 18:20 (NIV UK)
We live in culture of blame shifting. Is there a way whereby we can move the blame away from us? Can we say, when it comes to our own problems, it’s someone else’s fault?
At the time of Ezekiel the question of blame was debated. Maybe we can shift responsibility to our forefathers? Are we just reaping the results of their sins? Ezekiel makes it clear that each person should take responsibility for his or her own mistakes.
Some Christians blame the devil: “the devil made me do it”, they might say. Some blame their husbands or their wives, or their parents, or their genes, or society in general, or the government, or the media: anything or anyone but themselves. When it comes to parlous state of the world and to war and the threats of war, atheists and humanists often blame the practice of faith: religion has become the modern scapegoat.
Ezekiel’s advice was to “rid yourselves of all the offences you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit” (18:31). He was pointing prophetically to the sacrifice of Christ, through whom forgiveness of sin has occurred. It is Jesus who gives us a new heart and a new spirit.
Of course society and other people may affect us negatively, but let’s not shift the blame for our sins away from us. Accept the responsibility. And let’s accept the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.
From Day By Day, Friday 3 October. Author is James Henderson.