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Blame or Blessings?

by J. M. Farro on August 11th, 2019

   “Jesus said, ‘You’re asking the wrong question.  You’re looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do.’”  John 9:3 MSG

   I just found out that a very dear reader of mine passed away.  Sam was a great man of faith, and an inspiration to everyone who knew him.  But in the last few years of his life, he struggled with a recurring illness.  He would write me regularly, asking me to pray for him, and he would always tell me how much my writings encouraged his heart and his faith.  He had no doubts that God was going to heal him, and that the day would come when he would be completely whole.

   A few months ago, I noticed that Sam’s communications with me began sounding much different.  He would ask me how he could know if he was hearing from God.  And he would express his fears that Jesus was going to abandon him in his time of need.  He pleaded with me to tell him what he was doing wrong, and why God wasn’t healing him.  And it became obvious to me that people around him were blaming him for his illness and his lack of faith to be healed.  Each time, I reminded Sam of the truth of God’s Word and promises, and he would thank me, and seem more at peace.  The last time I heard from Sam was only days before he died.  I was greatly saddened because this great man of faith had left this earth questioning God’s goodness and faithfulness.

   The Bible tells us of a time when Jesus came upon a man who was blind from birth.  His disciples asked Him if his affliction was caused by his own sin or his parents’.  Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:3 NKJV)  The Message Bible records the Master’s words as saying, “You’re asking the wrong question.  You’re looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do.’” (John 9:3 MSG)  In other words, the disciples’ focus was wrong.  They were looking to assign blame to someone as the cause of this man’s blindness, while Jesus wanted them to focus on God’s willingness and ability to intercede on the man’s behalf.

   No one will ever know this side of heaven if Sam would have survived if he hadn’t been surrounded by people pointing the finger at him.  That’s why I am telling myself and you today to be very careful about what we say, or even infer, when someone is hurting.  We are called to lift people up in the name of Jesus, and to minister truth and hope to them – and to do it in ways that will draw them closer to God, instead of causing them to doubt Him.  We can assign blame, or we can administer blessings.  Which will you choose?

   Lord, make me a loving, giving, and forgiving person in ways that will touch and change lives for Your glory.  When you put people in my path who are suffering in any way, help me to pray for wisdom as to how You would have me minister to them.  You have said that “mercy triumphs over judgment,” so enable me by Your Spirit to show mercy to everyone I come in contact with. (James 2:13)  Thank You that as I allow Your love and wisdom to flow through me to others, Your blessings will overflow in my own life!

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