Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God Warns His People Not To Point Their Finger At Someone Else

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today

God Warns His People Not To Point Their Finger At Someone Else
Hosea 4:4a


Don’t point your finger at someone else
    and try to pass the blame!

Your family ever have a family feud? 

Unfortunately mine has too. And when the kids get married and people live widely separated -- in our case in several different states -- feuds become more difficult.

Of course there is always someone who feeds the fire and others who pick it up though you'll find no agreement on who that is or was. Likewise there is always an incident -- something around which the conflict developed. In some cases it's a simple as he said-she said, in other words that deadly virus gossip.

In our family at least three things have sparked the flames -- reactions to a specific person, end of life health decisions for a parent, and a desired family get-together.

But one thing all of these feuds have in common is that most of the people involved busied themselves with pointing the finger at someone else. It's hard, in the middle of conflict, to keep the focus on ones self and to, as my mom would say, grow a thick skin.

Pain -- physical, mental, emotional, or relational -- always accompanies a feud, often sparks the feud, and always makes honest dealing with the issues hard to hold on to.

God's people are not exempt.

God knows how his children will react when he lays out charges against them. They will try to shift the blame.

It's someone else's fault. It's God's fault. If not for this or that, we would not have failed. It's that other church God is speaking to. Ours is just fine. Or when our church egos soars, ours is an example of what it means to be faithful and right.

So God addresses the buck passing right up front. His statement is clear and simple:

Don’t point your finger at someone else
    and try to pass the blame!

The last half of the verse under consideration gets translated a couple ways. The New Living Translation, which we are following, makes it a personal statement to the priests and ministers. But a large majority of the translations say, "your people are like those who bring charges against a priest."

God knows we in the churches and congregations like to point the finger at and blame our priests, pastors, and ministers. Our church's problem is their fault.

Well, don't worry! When the leadership is at fault God does not spare the blame. They are subject to double accountability and punishment from him. He doesn't need your help in meting it out. 

But your failures, as a congregation and as individuals, are your own. You participated in them. Even if you were deceived by a false leader, you accepted the deception. For this God holds the congregation and the individuals accountable. So --

Don’t point your finger at someone else 
and try to pass the blame!

Photo Credits:
Pointing-finger some rights reserved by purpleslog

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