Amazing how one small part of the anatomy can lead to fierce reactions.
My index finger seems insignificant, but using it incorrectly can drum up heated responses. Pointing it at my dog when he has committed an offense—and scolding him simultaneously, immediately results in bared teeth, growling, and then barking. What is it about the finger that makes him react this way? Putting a finger in someone’s face during a heated argument often results in flying punches or angry words. And when asked “Who did it,” a pointing finger becomes a weapon of accusation. A middle finger—when used in a wrong fashion, can also bring lightning-quick reactions.
God warns against using our pointers in careless ways. In Hosea’s day, the religious leaders attempted to blame someone else for the people’s wicked behavior when it was really their failed leadership. They weren’t teaching them properly or setting an admirable example. Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! (Hosea 4:4 NLT)
Pointing my finger at someone else evidences my efforts to escape responsibility for something I’ve done or said. I may project onto others bad habits that I myself have, or I can simply avoid admission of my guilt. When I do either, it reveals my failure to accept responsibility. A part of maturity is a willingness to admit my mistakes and apologize for them.
My selfishness pulls me toward preferring to have someone else take the rap for my foibles rather than to do so myself. Experience and age, however, have taught me the importance of manning up, admitting it when I’m wrong, confessing it to God—and to others also when necessary—and seeking forgiveness from him and the person I’ve offended.
Are you pointing your finger at someone else instead of yourself?
Prayer: Master in heaven, when we wrong You or others, give us courage to admit, confess, and seek reconciliation.
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