When Your Good Choice Turns Bad, Don’t Blame Me

“You have no one to blame but yourself, so suck it up,” is a favorite saying of Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan. Behind his, ‘serves you right attitude,’ is a big heart ready to help when things turn complicated, and others are stopped in plans that will not work. Ed is off for a week helping his family in Edmonton. There, he is a welcome chauffer, babysitter, and the grease to get his family through work and school schedules that would not function without his outside help. Babysitting is no challenge for Ed as his grandkids never know what he will do next as their babysitter, and they also know about a week is enough for them. Then they need a rest!

Hearing about Ed in Edmonton made me think of a story by Andrew Greeley which is a favorite of mine. He tells of two neighborhood babysitters who were sisters. One evening the new couple on the block hired the younger sister to babysit their children. They returned to find the house a mess, with the babysitter half asleep on the couch. The next morning their children were excited to tell their parents how the sitter had played with them, told them stories, run races with them, and helped them say their prayers before bed. Still, the parents decided they would try the other sister next time because the younger sister left the house messy.

The next time they went out they hired the older sister. When they returned home the house was neat and orderly, and the children asleep, and the babysitter was at the table studying. She reported that the children had been angels and there were no problems. They were pleased and gave her an extra tip. The next morning their children complained that the babysitter had yelled at them using swear words, made them play outside after dark while she talked to her boyfriend on the phone, made them go to bed early, and then went outside and smoked and talked with some friends. Even the choice of hiring babysitters can be complicated. The parents were responsible for their choice of babysitter. How important was a messy or tidy house in the care of their children?

How important is it for Christians to remember we cannot see the whole truth about others but God sees the whole truth about each of us? In the Old Testament, Ezekiel makes it clear that the people were saying that God was not just, in that, God was punishing them for the sins of those who went before them. God made it clear through his prophet that God deals with each person individually. God said, “All souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.”

Nothing is hidden with God who sees if a righteous person turns and does evil. God also sees when a wicked person turns from doing wrong to doing right. God judges justly and would have all people turn and take responsibility for themselves alone. God has no pleasure in the death of anyone. His will is that we would choose to turn to him daily in repentance and live.

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