The Blame Game

I was speaking with a gentleman recently who was experiencing some very bad circumstances, his marriage was a wreck, his career was uncertain and his hope was depleted. As I spoke with him I recognized a common theme, one that I have seen many times over many years. “Why would God do this to me?” or “why would God allow this to happen to me?” is generally the way the conversation begins or ends. I have seen this line of questioning from folks who are professing believers as well as non-believers, it seems to be an almost universal default question.

I believe that tough questions often have tough answers. Our willingness to hear the tough answer is often the difference between correctly reconciling the situation or ending up shipwrecked and bitter on some false narrative. 

As the young man shared his story my heart broke for him, my heartbreak turned to something a little different the more I listened. I must admit I got a little ticked (don’t judge me) when he shared his frustration towards God over his circumstances. It was at this point I asked him if he was a believer. “Yes, well no, kinda” he replied. Lots of people acknowledge that there is a God, few live like it. He was one who believed in the existence of God but refused to obey, he, like so many, wanted to do things his way instead of God’s way. I am okay with that, that’s your choice, just don’t have the nerve to blame God when it blows up in your face. (This is that tough answer to the tough question part.) I asked the young man a question just to clarify. “So what you are saying is: you have done life your way, it is going very wrong and you are blaming God for the results?” “I guess so, I never thought about it that way.” he replied. I suggested he repent, tell God he was sorry for his rebellion and commit to doing things God’s way. He did just that. (Try this approach with some of your non-believing co-workers or lukewarm church friends. I warn you, it might get interesting.)

I have also heard some of the same “why would God allow this to happen to me?” talk, from authentic believers. Often there are some messed up theological views at play in these cases. Let me speak to my fellow Christians very plainly. (1) We live in a broken world, Jesus told us we would have trouble of all kinds while we were here. You will not be the exception to the rule. (2) God promised that He would use the good, the bad, and the ugly to grow us up and prepare us for greatness. (3) God is really in control, and you are responsible for believing that or not. (4) It takes faith to believe 1,2 and 3 we are called people of faith. Start believing and start living right where you are.