It’s Your Fault!

By Peter Eng

 

 

 

8The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

11The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

Genesis 21:8-13 (NIV)


It happened this morning during my not-so-early run.

A car made a turn and stopped across the pedestrian-crossing. To make matters worse, there was a second car behind him. The morning rush hour traffic was heavy as usual, and that second car, now stuck out where the driver would rather not be – in the yellow box junction. This left the pedestrians the unpleasant task of weaving behind the first car and in front of the second. So what was that second driver to do when there is space for him to go? He should get out of the yellow box or he would be blocking traffic, but the pedestrians now with the right-of-way would be walking in front of his car. Then, it happened.

The second car blasted long and angry honks at whoever was in front of him, for him to move. At some point, he decided that it was the fault of the car in front of him that he was stuck in the yellow box. But he would not have been in this situation had he not made the turn when he was not supposed to. But it is always the other person’s fault, isn’t it?

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Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing

America took in the Tsarneav brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers. This generous country showered them with kindness when they left their war-ravaged Chechnya. America gave them a home, many freedoms, and placed them on welfare to assist them. At some point, they were radicalized and decided to bomb the people who showed them kindness and generosity. When the bombing took place, their father insisted they are framed by America. Never mind the reality of their follow-up shooting of an MIT Campus police officer, the additional bombs they had in their possession that they tossed at the police pursuing them, and the inevitable video recordings from cameras on the police cruisers, the shoot-out with the police, the Russian warning to America about the elder son, etc. Their father is still saying it is America’s fault. Their mother is also saying her sons are innocent. It is like they were shooting paint balls. The bombing was fake, and the death and injuries were made up. It’s America’s fault.

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Yasukuni: shrine to more than 1000 Japanese war criminals

The current Prime Minister of Japan, Abe visited the Japanese war shrine that honors the Japanese war criminals as national heroes, when he was the leader of the opposition. To this day, Japan claims that during WW2, they liberated Manchuria, China, Malaya, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, etc. To this day, they deny their blood guilt of the Nanking massacre, the massacres in Philippines, Singapore and elsewhere. Their school text books tell the lies of Japan’s glorious liberation of Asia from the western colonial powers. They were not at fault. We owe them a debt of gratitude for liberating us from the colonial powers.

It doesn’t matter whether that person is a Singaporean, a Chechnyan, or Japanese. Our tendency is to believe it is the other person’s fault, no matter how impossible that proposition really is.

It brings me to the sobering reality of repentance. Jesus said that when he leaves, he will send the Holy Spirit to be with us. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).

The natural man is not inclined to see his own sin. It takes that radical work of the Holy Spirit in our life before we can see our own sin. When we repented of our sin, even if it were just an intellectual assent without the tears of heartfelt repentance or the joy of true forgiveness, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him,” we would never have come. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). It starts with our repentance and it ends with our resurrection. It starts with the acknowledgement of sin, and it ends with the defeat of sin – in our resurrection.

What a wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord!

Last night, while sending off an old friend at the airport, I had the privilege of conversing with a very knowledgeable church elder about Reformed Theology. And one of the points we touched on briefly was “total depravity.”It is the theology that we are totally incapable of coming to God unless the Holy Spirit of God draws us to himself. I like to believe that this truth is commonly accepted by Christians. But I am less certain about how deeply we understand our own inability to see our sins clearly and come to God in repentance. In our natural state, any issue tends to be the other person’s fault.

Let us drink deeply of God’s grace in opening our eyes to see our own fault. It is only in seeing our own fault that we can repent, and receive the greatest gift – even eternal life – our resurrection.

The prince of this world is the prince of darkness, the father of lies. He has cast his spiritual darkness over all mankind. And we see this darkness every day when we see people just incapable of seeing their own faults. Our spiritual warfare is not against the blind, but against blindness, and against the one who caused this blindness. Think of a doctor who makes it his life mission to fight blindness. He does not hate blind people. The opposite is true. He loves blind people so he fights blindness.

I know I don’t love people nearly enough. I know there is a tendency in me to be annoyed by “unreasonable” people who cannot see their own faults. Yet I know that when I do not live by the Spirit of God, I am equally unreasonable. And God, out of his great patience, did not write me off, but drew me in. I know this is one area the Lord has been speaking to me this week. I need to see my own blindness and that will help me love those who cannot yet see.

By the love of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see and we repent. But I know this is a continuing grace, because every so often, I am the driver of that second car, the Tsarneav parent, or the Japanese who honor mass murders. The Christian is given the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit who teaches us from day to day where our fault lies. Not as a guilt trip that blames self for every wrong, but to see that even when I am right, I am rarely completely free of contributory factors.

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