More Musical Musings: When It’s Not Your Fault
Last time I posted, I wrote about the Into to the Woods song, “So It’s Your Fault!” addressing the need of our generation to accept responsibility for our actions instead of shifting the blame. (Click here to read it.) In the song, multiple characters try to shift the blame of the day’s events to someone else, even though they all played a role in bringing about the situation. I didn’t really want to leave the subject until I had touched on another important facet of the conversation: What happens when it really isn’t our fault?
1. Remember that the ultimate example of unjust suffering is Christ
When we are feeling down and out about our suffering, we must remember that Christ suffered for sins that were not his own. Though blameless, he allowed himself to die a criminal’s death. Excruciatingly painful. Alone. And he did it for us. He is our example. (1 Pt 1:21)
2. Remember that we live in a fallen world, but there is a hope of eternity
Christ suffered for our sins so that we could have hope in a fallen world. The truth is that this world is sick with the illness of sin. Sometimes, we suffer when it isn’t our fault simply because of sin. We often live in the shadow of a prosperity mindset: If we are right with God, everything will be as it should be. We will be blessed with all our desires will be met. But that is far from the picture that the New Testament shows us. When we read Scripture, persecution and suffering are spoken of as part of the Christian life. Often times, the Bible speaks of when we suffer, not if we suffer.
The Bible says that the world groans for the day when all will be put back to the way it should be. And the picture of eternity is beautiful. The lion will lay down with the lamb. The serpent and the child will play. The swords will be beaten into plows. And there will be peace. All injustice will be done away with. And every tear will be wiped away. (Is 11:6, Rev 21:4)
3. Remember that God works all things to the good of those who love him
God has given us some great examples of living through times when we are, indeed, blameless, but we have to take the blame. The most well-known example is Joseph. Yeah, he might have been a bit arrogant because of his dreams and his father’s favoritism, but talk about a tough break. He’s sold into slavery by his brothers. He leads a blameless life in the house of Potiphar, only to be accused to attempting to rape someone when he was, in fact, attempting to maintain his purity. He ends up in prison. He interprets someone’s dream and gives them specific instructions to remember his plight and yet he is forgotten. Finally, in the conclusion to the dramatic story, God uses all of the bad things that had happened to Joseph to position him into a role of authority, which allows him to save not only the people of Egypt, but ultimately his own family. When his brothers fear for their lives after the death of their father, Joseph tells them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it to be for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen 50: 20). Years and years of seemingly unfair situations led to the perfect position for the salvation of many.
While I do not believe that God will always answer bad times with prosperity, I do believe that he is behind the scenes, orchestrating things for our good, whether that means spiritual good, physical good, or something else (Rom 8:28). My pastor once told a story about the creation of a beautiful rug. If you look at it on one side, all you see are the mixed colors and knots that don’t seem to make any kind of pattern. But if you turn it over, you find the beautiful design orchestrated by the creator. Our lives often look like that. We see the knots and the threads and what looks like a bunch of mistakes, not realizing that God has a beautiful plan for our lives. The Bible says that, “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it” (Phil 1:6).
4. Pray for those who persecute you.
Probably one of the hardest things for us to do when we are being blamed for something we did not do is pray for and love those who are blaming us. Yet that is exactly what God commands us to do. Jesus himself told his disciples, “Love your enemies and pray for those who are persecuting you,” (Matt 5: 44). Have you ever looked at why he commands us to do so? “That you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous… Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5: 45, 48). Did you catch that? When we love enemies, we start to resemble our Father more. When a new baby is born, we often exclaim, “Oh! He looks so much like you! He has your eyes or your smile, etc.” We are to love our enemies because it is a picture of our Father in heaven. When we love those who persecute us, who blame us unjustly, we are reflecting the love of our Father, who, though we were traitors and enemies, loved us.
So what do we do when faced with blame that isn’t our own? Remember Christ and his suffering. Hold on to the fact that our world is broken, but perfection is coming. Face your trials knowing that God will work out all things for your good. And while you are tempted to sing a Broadway song about it being someone else’s fault (and this time it’s true!), don’t forget to pray for those who are blaming you. In standing firm in our situation, we reflect to the image of our Father.