"Stop Playing the Blame Game"
Author: Dr. Neal Gray
Passage: John 9:1-5
Purpose: We humans always look for a cause-and-effect. No surprise, because we are taught the "scientific method" in all of our schooling. But with God and His ways, things are different. The Lord arranges events that He might be glorified. The question is: will you glorify God in the events of your life?
I didn’t know this about people when I surrendered to the pastoral ministry, but I certainly soon found out: even Christian people have some unhealthy ideas about life! Oh, yes.
Oh, no, though. What misconceptions I had as a church-goer. I thought that everyone at church was full of knowledge about God, Christ, and the Bible; they were emotionally happy and stable; and spiritually, that they were all devoted "to the max" to Jesus’ mission. Further, I thought that I was the only one who didn’t quite fit. I was a new Christian and they were mature Christians. I was growing, but they had grown up. Only I had flaws.
Of course, the fact is that we all have all sorts of wrong ideas about life. Jesus knows this. And Jesus wants to help. Let’s let Him help us today.
Our Scripture is John 9:1-5.
WRONG IDEA ABOUT WHO JESUS IS
Remember the setting of this story. The JEWS
HAD THE WRONG IDEA ABOUT WHO JESUS IS. And
they had just heard Jesus say two statements
that made them really angry. Let’s see.
I Can Keep You From Death
Jesus had told the Jews in the temple:
Truly, truly, I say to you, if
anyone keeps My word he shall
never see death. (John 8:51)
To this statement, they accused Jesus of
being possessed by a demon. What a horrible
The Man of Truth was speaking to them,
and they could not rightly hear. They could
not understand that the Messiah would
ultimately keep them from the death of
eternal separation from God.
Hey, even you and I understand this
concept. Don’t we? Amen! But the religious
men of Jesus’ day had the wrong idea.
I Have Eternally Existed
The other statement was this:
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly,
I say to you, before Abraham was
born, I am." (John 8:58)
With this statement, the Jews "picked up
stones to throw at Him." For Jesus to say,
"I AM," reminded the Jews of God’s statement
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I
AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall
say to the sons of Israel, ’I AM
has sent me to you.’" (Exodus
So Jesus was equating Himself with God.
You and I would say, "Uh, yeah. That’s
right. Jesus is Lord!" But those religious
men had it wrong.
WRONG IDEA ABOUT SIN AND SUFFERING
So, religious persons have gotten it wrong,
or at least have not understood, for a very
Seeing that they were about to hurt Him
with stones, Jesus went out of the temple. I
guess I would leave, too, if folks started
Possible Reasons for His Blindness
Outside of the temple, Jesus and His
disciples came upon a blind man. This man
had never had sight; blind from birth. For
the disciples--who were trying to be
theologians, who were trying to establish a
cause-and-effect for everything--they wanted
to establish just why that man had been
blind from birth.
In their day there were probably four
answers they would have given:
1. The pagans of that day, just as
today, believed in reincarnation.
And so, the situation of this life
was directed related to their
behavior in the past life. So, the
blind man must have sinned in his
past life they would say.
The Jews never did accept this
2. Then there was the argument of
heredity. The Lord had told Israel
that He would visit "the iniquity of
the fathers on the children, on the
third and the fourth generations of
those who hate Me," (cf. Exodus
This explanation had some Scriptural
merit. It could have been that the
blind man’s parents or grandparents
were very evil. It was worth
3. Third, there was the explanation
that the sin of Adam was passed to
each member of the human family. We
are subject to disease and death.
4. Finally, the Jews believed that a
child in the womb could sin.
This one is difficult for me to
conceive of (pun intended)!
Some Things Just Happen
The disciples were like we modern day
people, "inquiring minds want to know." But,
they had the wrong ideas. In their lifetimes
and in ours, some things just happen. Let me
say that again: IN YOUR LIFE, SOME THINGS
JUST HAPPEN, and it will be beyond you and
beyond me why those things happened.
I’m tempted to stand here and tell you
many stories about things that have happened
to me and to my family, things that I
fervently wish had never happened. But I
know that you know what I mean.
* Friends hurt us.
* Family hurt us.
* People get seriously sick. They die.
* Jobs bring trouble.
* Hurtful people come our way.
* Earthquakes, lightning, tornadoes
and hurricanes inflict suffering.
* Even our own bodies don’t function
as well as we would like.
* And on and on.
==> Friends, the things that happen to us
are so often inexplicable in terms that we
would like to hear and know.
This man had always been blind. The
disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned?"
For these twelve men, there must have
been a cause. Their thoughts were this:
"Somebody somewhere did something to cause
this unhappy condition of blindness! We want
to know who did what when."
But Jesus’ answer effectively was this:
"Nobody did anything to cause this." Jesus
knew that HIS MEN HAD THE WRONG IDEA, A
MISCONCEPTION about reality.
Accept God’s Providence
If you need a concrete answer about why
things happen, I’ll give it to you right
now. GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND HE IS IN CONTROL.
And He is God, He is the Lord. He is doing
what needs to be done.
The psalmist, long ago, recognized that
our best course of action is to simply trust
in the Lord. Listen to a small portion of
Do not fret...Trust in the Lord,
and do good...cultivate faithful
ness...Delight yourself in the
Lord...Commit your way to the
Lord, Trust also in Him. (see
==> (I urge you to read all of Psalm 37
tonight before you rest.)
Some things we can change. Thank God. And
we should endeavor to correct things that
need to be corrected. We are "wired" that
But a great many things we cannot change.
God’s PROVIDENCE IS INFINITELY STRONGER THAT
YOU are. My first District Superintendent,
Dr. W. M. Lynch, used to speak of the
Providence of God often. He would say to me,
"Neal, if in God’s Providence this happens,
then...." Dr. Lynch firmly believed that God
was going to have His will in all our
==> So what do you do about the things you
cannot change? Well...you simply accept
those things as God’s plan. And WHAT A
RELIEF ACCEPTANCE BRINGS, namely...
* Acceptance means you stop fighting
* Acceptance stops a lot of the hurt
* Acceptance frees you to not worry
about anything that is out of your
power to change.
* Acceptance enables you "to let go
and let God." Then you know what to
leave alone and what to change.
==> And the result is this: inner serenity.
You Are NOT a Guinea Pig
Back to the blind man, Jesus, and the
disciples. Now think about this: What must
that blind man thought? He probably could
sense the presence of the Lord right in
front of him, even though he could not see.
And 12 men are asking questions of Great
Physician, much like young interns in a
hospital quizzing the attending doctor on a
patient. They wanted certain knowledge about
the situation. They asked, "Why did this
happen?" What must have been running through
the blind man’s mind?
Anyway, Jesus knew why the man was blind.
And He reveals the answer:
Jesus answered, "It was neither
that this man sinned, nor his par
ents; but it was in order THAT THE
WORKS OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN
HIM." (John 9:3)
==> What must the blind man thought? "Hey
up! You mean I’m blind because God wanted it
Beloved, I can tell you this for sure and
for certain: God did not create you to
inflict suffering upon you. No. But, GOD HAS
CREATED YOU AND ME FOR HIS GLORY. And our
God has His own wise reasons for permitting
sickness, disease, suffering, and trouble.
Some people might think they know all
about God’s Providence, but I don’t think
they really know. God doesn’t reveal to us
why He permits things. But I do believe
this, which is captured in this poem:
God never does,
Nor suffers to be done
But what we would ourselves,
Could we but see
Through all events of things
As well as He.
==> I hope you will take comfort in knowing
that God is not experimenting on you, to see
how much you can endure. But, GOD HAS
CREATED YOU FOR HIS GLORY! If we miss that,
we miss the entire purpose of our creation.
RIGHT WAY TO LIVE LIFE
These trials and sufferings come to us
because they bring about the glory of God.
This is a right understanding, even if it
seems difficult to see how it is all
happening. But there is a better way to
When you go through hardships in life with
health, family, career, etc., perhaps you
will see that trying to cast blame upon
someone or something, simply is not the
right thing. It is a misconception that even
Christian folk have, i.e., trying to
establish cause-and-effect, CASTING BLAME in
Don’t you know that in most cases the
"blame game" only creates injury?
* It never heals--it always hurts.
* It never makes people whole--it only
* It never unites--it only divides.
* It never builds--it only tears
* It never solves a problem--it only
compounds the problem.
Cast blame? Why? It does not help.
==> Yet people are set upon casting blame.
They will blame God, blame others, or they
will BLAME THEMSELVES.
Stop Blaming Yourself
Especially hurtful to your life is when you
blame yourself for the things that you
Beloved, I know that your children don’t
always behave they way you would have them.
I know that your boss at work is often a
real pain. I know what it is to have to work
at marriage. And DO YOU KNOW HOW YOUR PASTOR
FEELS when the church doesn’t behave as
Jesus intends? Hmmm?
Jesus Came to Stop the Blame Cycle
Who ya’ goin’ blame? Yourself. No! Jesus
came to stop this cycle. Don’t you know that
when Jesus died on the Cross, He took your
failures. He took your sins, He took your
shortcomings, He took your brokenness in His
There is no sin that Jesus didn’t cover.
To go on punishing yourself and beating
yourself down for something you have done
wrong, or failed to do right, is to ignore
the spiritual truth of what Jesus has done
And to blame yourself for the deeds of
others is awful, too. Let this misconception
go away that you are responsible for the
actions of others.
==> YOU ARE NOT! You are not! You are not!
God’s Good Created Humans
When you stop blaming yourself--and stop
blaming others--you’ll discover even more
wonders. You’ll begin to see each human as
God’s divine original creation. Each person
is unique. God created him. God created her.
Except for the marks of our fallen
humanity and except for the willful sins
they commit, each person is really a
marvelous creation of God. Can you see that?
==> Some of you have not yet realized that
you are a marvelous creation of God! You
think that it’s wrong to have good feelings
about yourself. And so you blame yourself
for so many things.
You really are a wonderful person. At
least potentially you are wonderful!
A Little Reality Therapy
Just to help you this morning, you are going
to recognize that you are a wonderful
person. So...please repeat after me:
"I’m really a wonderful person, when
Christ lives in me."
"I have been too self-critical."
"I have been my own worst enemy."
"I’m a child of God!"
"God loves me!"
"I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me!"
God Is Not Finished with You
Finally, hear me on this short simple truth.
This is not a misconception. It is the
As a child of God, GOD IS NOT FINISHED
WITH YOU--nor with me (aren’t you glad?!).
The best is yet to come!
Our Great God and Lord Jesus Christ want
to turn your brokenness into a ministry of
hope, if you’ll let Him. God will use you,
just as He used the "blind man from birth,"
to heal many other broken people and give
them hope, too. And God will be glorified by
your life! Isn’t that nice? Yes!
Hymns & Reading
Suggested hymns and readings from the "Sing
to the Lord" hymnal:
He Has Made Me Glad............Hymn #25
This Is the Day................Hymn #26
To God Be the Glory............Hymn #36
Great Is the Lord..............Hymn #69
Glorify Thy Name................Hymn #4