Summary: 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.

"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.



Remember the setting of this story. The JEWS


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

to Moses:

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.



So, religious persons have gotten it wrong,

or at least have not understood, for a very

long time.

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

throwing rocks!

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

thinking about.

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.

Who Sinned?

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


MISCONCEPTION about reality.

Accept God’s Providence

If you need a concrete answer about why

things happen, I’ll give it to you right


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

Psalm 37:

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

Psalm 37:1-5)

==> (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.


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? simply accept

those things as God’s plan. And WHAT A


* Acceptance means you stop fighting

the inevitable.

* Acceptance stops a lot of the hurt

and pain.

* 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


HIM." (John 9:3)

==> What must the blind man thought? "Hey

up! You mean I’m blind because God wanted it

this way?!"

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


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


we miss the entire purpose of our creation.



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


No Blame

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

some direction.

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

breaks relationships.

* 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


Stop Blaming Yourself

Especially hurtful to your life is when you

blame yourself for the things that you

cannot change.

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


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

for you.

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

gospel truth.

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

Responsive Reading.................#598

To God Be the Glory............Hymn #36

Great Is the Lord..............Hymn #69

Glorify Thy Name................Hymn #4