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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who's to Blame?

Pain is one event in life that makes many of us question God. As the Author, Creator, Provider of life, we believe that God could, and at times should, keep us from pain. I can think of one instance at least where this is entirely unfair.

On my way through the book of Mark, I have been pondering a story concerning John the Baptist and Herod Antipas, King over Galilee at the time. In this very short story, we see that Herod struggles with some pretty significant life issues- he is a control freak, a sex addict, and very power hungry. I could go into more details, but that's not really the point here. Anyway, Herod often spends time "listening" to John the Baptist talk about God and his plan. But because of Herod's own issues, he is unable, or unwilling to respond to God. In the end, Herod's personal struggles put him in a position where he is forced to have John the Baptist beheaded to satisfy some of his friends.

Now, this event certainly left John's followers and friends wondering "Where is God? How could this happen?" But God is not to blame. Herod is. Clearly, Herod's unwillingness to deal with his own stuff caused incredible pain to others. Where was God? I think he was with John, giving him courage and strength. And I also think he was with Herod, trying to woo him to a new way of life. But God was not the one causing pain.

Here's my point: sometimes we face excruciating pain because of someone's sin. (Although this word may seem archaic to some, it is still an accurate way to describe any action, thought, or motive that is contrary to the heart of God). God does not cause it. God does not want it. God is dying to stop it. (And He did, literally) But in a world where we are free, and I mean really free, others are also free to hurt us.

What does this mean? Well, we might be tempted to think, "Yeah, I sure hope so-and-so reads this and deals with their sin!" But the best thing we can do, the best way we can help our loved ones and friends is to choose to deal with our own stuff. Simply put, if we love others, we will address sin in our lives so that we won't hurt others. Rather than pointing fingers and telling others to stop hurting us, our best move is to look within and say, "God, help me to deal with me."

So, who's to blame? In a word, ME.

Peace on your journey-
Nick

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