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Just dropping by ... The blame game

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 April 2021

It is easy to sit in our cozy comfort zones and play the blame game. When we see homeless people on the street in their ragged, dirty appearance, it is easy to say, “If they had made different choices, they would not be in such a predicament.

If the political power in charge had kept campaign promises after the election, those people would be gainfully employed and living in a warm house.” It is easy to blame others for everything. We jump on our soapbox and pontificate about how they should be more responsible while we make excuses for our bad choices.

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We seldom consider the person and how they really got there. It’s like the story of the old woman who swallowed the fly. If she had kept her mouth shut, she would not have swallowed the fly, and would have had no need to swallow a spider to get rid of the fly, and a bird to get rid of the spider or swallow a cat to catch the bird and then swallow a dog to catch the cat and a cow to catch the dog – and finally the horse would still be alive if the old woman had not swallowed it to catch the cow. Most of the time, we simply see a deceased obese lady and assume the worst. We don’t consider how many times she tried to solve the problem, and we seldom see the fly who started the whole thing in the first place.

What a wonderful world this would be if we would follow the example of the Apostles at the Last Supper. When Jesus announced someone was going to betray him, each of the Apostles looked introspectively into his own heart and said, “Lord, is it I?” They were not playing the blame game.

It is good to take a charity self-evaluation and compare ourselves to 1 Corinthians 13 KJV to see how we measure up:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Flamboyant, swelling words spoken in a precise, elegant fashion are not charity. Charity is not a thing of words. It is a thing of the heart. If you’ve ever woken up to a trumpet shattering the morning air, you are familiar with sounding brass. A tinkling cymbal is a loud obnoxious instrument. If controlled, it’s effective. If not, the tinkle is irritating as it clatters on off-beat to the music. If our actions don’t match our words, we sound as brash as those musical instruments. Charity is silent and unassuming; she simply listens to the needs of others and acts in quiet, unobtrusive ways.

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And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Charity is not educational, intellectual or spiritual prowess. It is not the ability to perform miracles and do great deeds. It is an attitude of love toward God and all human beings. Charity is the quality that separates the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff and the honey from the comb. Humans are mere animals without charity.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

In modern vernacular: Even if I put all my money into disaster aid and send thousands of dollars to aid those who are suffering. Even if I go down to the site of the disaster and give up my own home to house the victims. Even if I am lauded on every network as a philanthropist for my magnificent acts of charity, if I point my fingers at the victims and play the blame game while flying my own self-righteous flag, there have been no acts of charity in the sight of God. Charity is not on display. It is sheltered in quiet, unseen and sometimes unnoticed acts of love.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Charity is not reserved for the giver. Charity should be in the heart of the receiver. Charity suffers great loss and yet is filled with deep and abiding gratitude toward God and to those who reach out with acts of kindness. Charity does not envy the “haves” and loot and pillage the devastation of someone’s misfortune. Charity does not walk proudly expecting someone else to shoulder the burden of loss. Charity willingly bends to the will of God and reaches to shoulder burdens of someone less fortunate. Yet charity graciously and with deep gratitude accepts the gifts of every giver because she knows that a gift graciously accepted is a return gift to the giver.

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Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Charity accepts full responsibility for her actions. She doesn’t play the blame game. She simply says, “How could I have prevented the situation and how can I fix it?” She comes up with the answer privately and begins the work of rebuilding and correcting her wrongs. Charity rejoices in her power to make decisions and live with the consequences. She weeps over others’ loss but doesn’t point out failures. She accepts what “is” because she makes no attempt to excuse or rose-color the truth.

I could go on expounding, but I have read enough to know I am far from charity. The blame game often is part of my daily conversation. Oh, I give a few dollars disaster relief and give extra to my church to help the victims, but where is my heart? Where are my prayers? I march on in my daily agenda watching the water or fire swirl around someone else’s houses and come up with my own assessment of what they should have done or who in the government was at fault, yet how many times have I lifted my hands to solve the situation?

The old saying, “When you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” Where is my compassion? Where is my sense of balance? How is my charity barometer?

I remember in 2000 when the Rodeo-Chedeski fire raged through my hometown in Arizona. I knew the people who lost their homes. They were good people. They went to church and did what they could to bless the lives of others. They were not the Sodom and Gomorrah type. Their houses were simply in the path of a raging fire. Who am I to stand on a pedestal and talk about God’s judgment? If I expect God to punish other people for their misdeeds, what can I expect He will do to me? He said, “Judge not that ye be not judged” (Matt 7:1 KJV). Oh, hypocrite. Clean up your own corral before you start carrying manure from your neighbor’s.

What did Jesus of Nazareth do to deserve His misfortune? He was spat upon, flogged, crowned with thorns, falsely accused, nailed to a cross and speared. Yet He was the true example of charity. He did not say, “I don’t deserve this.” He didn’t say, “You Roman soldiers, just wait until the judgment. You will get yours.” No, He said to one of his disciples, “John, take care of your mother.” In His deepest agony, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV). Exquisite charity in majesty hung on the cross as He bowed to the will of His Father. Always in His tongue burned the law of kindness.

When Jesus says, “Come follow me,” He is talking to those who watch the media and pass judgment upon every scene. He is speaking to those who turn a blind eye to the panhandler on the street and the acts of injustice perpetrated against the innocent. He is expecting us to follow His example when we reach out to help others in quiet ways that never make it to the limelight. He expects us to be more concerned with a correct heart than the politically correct appearance. end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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