Take Cover – a Line of Thunder Storms is Heading Our Way
Ed, my neighbor next door, has been thundering around like stormy weather this past week. He aggravated his right shoulder while playing baseball with his grandkids. The pain has refused to leave and every day that it throbs on Ed gets more and more ill-tempered. When the weather channel announced a line of thunderstorms was heading our way yesterday, Ed started flashing some lightning of his own.
He reluctantly asked me to put some things from his yard in his garage. His sore shoulder wasn’t allowing him to do any lifting. “If we get strong winds, I don’t want stuff blowing to kingdom come. If it hails, it will ruin the crops,’’ Ed said in frustration. “I’m fed up with my bum shoulder and thunderstorms and everything and anything,” Ed grumbled. “Better keep a good distance from me, as I want to throw a tantrum, yell and blame everything I‘m grumpy about on someone else,” he said.
Thankfully, I was spared Ed’s possible tantrum because rain chased us into our own houses. Blame is like a clap of thunder that startles us. We may wonder where it came from and if we are in for a cloud burst of fault-finding pouring down upon us. Sometimes we do not deserve blame and sometimes we do. Often nothing upsets us more than being blamed for what we didn’t do.
I have sung the “don’t blame me” song so often that I have perfected it. Then there is my other long standing “it’s your fault” ballad. Both songs seem to pop up in times of stormy relationships. The worst part of dealing with blame is when we cannot escape singing the blues because we are rightfully blaming ourselves over our own error. Self blame can eat at us like acid, even if it isn’t truly deserved.
We have a basic need to feel blameless or guilt free. As Christians, we want to be free of sin and its guilt, but we do continue to sin. One Christian, Charlotte Elliott of England, was well aware of her failing to do better when it came to sin. She couldn’t make progress at improving herself before God. Charlotte became an invalid at age 30 and remained an invalid until her death at age 82. She lived between 1789 and 1871. Being an invalid also caused her to fall into feelings of great uselessness. A preacher by the name of Dr. Caesar Malan invited Charlotte to go in belief to Jesus just as she was. Her willingness to go to Jesus in faith would later be shared in her best know hymn “Just As I Am.” In her lifetime, she wrote 150 hymns in spite of being an invalid for fifty of her 82 years.
The Bible makes it clear that the devil is the great tempter and accuser. He destroys lives with blame, guilt, shame and self condemnation. Yet, God calls us to come forward to Him in boldness and receive mercy. God is faithful and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness because of Jesus, His Lamb of God for us. We come to Jesus just as we are because he will receive, welcome, pardon, cleanse, and relieve us of the blame and guilt of our sins.