Friday, November 25, 2022

Pointing the Finger - Martin Wiles

Pointing the Finger
The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12 NLT

She stood in the road—pointing her finger—and shouted, “Well, if you would stop, I could get him.”

As I took my daily stroll, I turned into a neighboring subdivision I had walked through for six years. I noticed a small dog crisscrossing the road about twenty-five yards ahead. I wondered what he would do when I approached—the reason why I carry a large stick.

Sure enough, when I reached where he stood in the front yard with his owner, he saw me, barked, and ran into the road after me. I spoke kindly to him, but he continued to yap, follow me, and place his muzzle against my ankle. I knew at any minute I would feel his teeth sink into my skin. Every few yards, I stopped, turned around, and shooed him away, but as soon as I turned to walk again, he returned to my ankle.

After thirty yards of this yapping, I stopped, turned, and hollered at him. It was then that I noticed the owner standing in the middle of the road telling me to stop so she could get her dog.

As politely as I could under the circumstances, I said, “Mame, you do know there is a leash law in this county?”

She replied, “Well, he has never seen you before.”

Suddenly, her breaking the law had become my fault. I made a mental note that in the future I would introduce myself to any strange dogs.

Pointing the finger has a long history, beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God gave them one rule to follow, but they broke it. When God confronted Adam about his sin, he pointed the finger at Eve. When God confronted Eve, she pointed the finger at the serpent.

What God wanted from the first couple—and what He wants from us now—was for them to take responsibility for their actions. Shifting the blame to others provides the easy way out but doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility in God’s eyes. I am responsible for my sin, for my refusal to forgive those who sin against me, for my unkind words, for the squabbles I initiate, and for the way I talk to a dog owner who doesn’t want to take responsibility for her animal’s actions.

The solution is simple, yet challenging: personal action. I must confess, I must forgive, I must apologize, I must love those who are unlovable, and I must rectify wrongs. The good news is that God goes before us when we take responsibility for our actions. He gives strength and wisdom. He knows always pointing the finger at someone else for our troubles will only lead us down a path to emotional sickness and stunt our spiritual growth.

Ask God to help you stop pointing the finger at others and take responsibility for your actions.

Prayer: Father, when we’re tempted to point the finger at others, help us to look at ourselves instead. 

Tweetable: Are you pointing the finger? 

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