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Monday, November 28, 2011

Blame Game

"Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act..."
~ John 8:4 (NKJV)

Perhaps being a woman makes me both less inclined to draw attention to the power femininity holds over men, and more sensitive to how often the blame for sin is laid at the feet of vulnerable women.

Consider the Bible's many examples of the latter:

• Judah demands that Tamar be burned for pregnancy by harlotry, though he is the man guilty of hiring her (Genesis 38)
• The numerous warnings against the "evil / immoral / adulterous woman," "seductress," and "harlot" contained in Proverbs, a book largely composed by Solomon, the son of a man who committed adultery with Solomon's mother
• The above example from John, when Pharisees present to Jesus the woman caught in the very act of adultery, though the man they also caught is mysteriously absent
• Paul's observation that "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression." (1 Timothy 2:14)

Do you detect the irony in that last verse? There is no honor in lack of discernment which permits any person to be deceived. But if Adam was not deceived, how much greater is his dishonor for sinning with full knowledge?

"But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
~ Matthew 5:32 (NKJV)

Jesus turns the tables on the Pharisees who drag the adulterous woman to Him for stoning. He does so again in the above passage from Matthew, when He points out a reality of patriarchal culture: a woman divorced by her husband remained largely dependent on men for support, and had little choice but adultery or harlotry. Jesus says men cause such adultery with their divorce.

The pendulum has now swung the other way in a society that pounces on the shortcomings and outright abuses of men, and gives an understanding nod to the sins of women. The fundamental church counters with its generally pharisaical or patriarchal view.

Except in a court of law, the blame game doesn't produce a winner.

... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ...
~ Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

God doesn't play the blame game. He merely convicts each of us of sin where we have yet to see it.

And then He points to the cross and to His Son, offering His Holy Spirit's power to overcome.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
~ Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. Amen, powerful words here sis. I love you.

  2. Thank you, Denise. Though I hate to be so long in writing a post, with these familiar stories I often wait until I see something new to bring to it.

  3. A powerful new twist on a subject I've thought about before. It does seem as if the woman is blamed frequently, but maybe that's because I am a woman living in a different culture, sensitive to stories of vulnerable women because in our culture women are (usually) more independent and have more options? So true, we are all responsible for our own sins. I'm thankful for the redeeming work of Jesus in my life.

  4. Jenn, after studying biblical culture at length and observing my own society, I can only conclude that in every culture of every era, women will always be vulnerable to the oppression of men, including the blame game. The more I counsel other women—the longer I experience life as a woman—the more I learn about the many ways in which women are vulnerable.

    Yes, we have more options. But men still hold most of the power, and we remain largely dependent on them as our business owners and managers, college administrators and professors, government officials and politicians. I prefer to think of myself as dependent on the God Who is only good, and see that He both empowers men to do good and asks it of them; and with power comes responsibility and accountability (Luke 12:48).

    Along with you, I thank God for the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Our Lord not only transforms sinners into being Christlike, but also responds to all who call out to Him amid their suffering.

  5. been sitting here for a spell thinking about it. thinking about Adam's knowledge of God yet he still opted to partake in the sin. i can relate to that easy enough. it's been said and i agree that sin does separate us from God. i used to think that Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world but now i think otherwise since God allowed evil to exist there as well. the realization comes home about free will and in choosing between good and evil out of love for God. what's most difficult for me to fathom or understand is why God would choose walking in the flesh is relatively easier then walking in the Spirit yet it has no life in it and it's only for the feeling good moment. but i think Adam might have lived out in his days afterwards with a lot of regret for failing to trust fully in God. i couldn't have done it any better then Adam. or Judas either, for that matter.

  6. Bud, you bring up a fascinating point: the world wasn't perfect if it contained evil.

    I don't think I ever considered that from exactly that perspective. Here are my thoughts ~

    As you say, God allowed evil. He didn't create it. I'm not sure this will be a complete definition, but certainly the essence of evil is its opposition to good. It might be argued that darkness doesn't actually exist on its own, but is simply the absence of light. Cold is simply the absence of heat. A vacuum is simply the absence of matter. If God is absolute goodness, then perhaps evil is—on its most essential level—simply the absence of God and His goodness. Where goodness does not exist, the resulting void is necessarily filled with evil.

    Isaiah 14:12-15 indicates that before his own fall, lucifer was created as son of the morning, perhaps the highest angelic being among the host of heaven. (Another of his names, 'satan,' means 'accuser,' which is especially plain in Revelation 12:10.) His aspiration to elevate himself as god established his opposition to God—his evil. The signs John describes in Revelation 12:3-5 appear to have already occurred, and it appears that a third of the angels followed lucifer at the time of his rebellion. While it is possible that these angels were simply under the command of lucifer, and I can't think of anywhere in the Bible that specifically says angels were given a free will in the same way humans were, my distinct impression is that angels had a choice in deciding their alliance, as do humans in their free will.

    If God is truly sovereign, can we truly possess free will? Although no one can claim to fully comprehend everything entailed in predestination (mentioned in Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:5 & 11), I see no conflict between God's sovereignty (in predestination or elsewhere) and human free will. Without free will, love is not love. If there is no freedom to choose not loving God, then our love is no more than a response we are compelled to give. Consider that worship isn't always given freely; the day is coming when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord, to the glory of the Father." Some shall worship with willing love, some under compulsion. Likewise faith is a gift from God to us (Ephesians 2:8) rather than something we can attain on our own. Yes, we know how to love and are able to love because God first loved us. But as far as I can see, we love God as a pure act of free will, our gift to God.

    To sum this all up (still with me?), God had to allow free will in order for our love to really be love. But for free will to really be free will, there had to be a true choice available—the choice between God and opposition to God, or the choice between good and evil. God did not create evil, but free will. Our every choice for "not God" is a choice for evil.

    That "feel good for the moment" choice shows our ignorance or impatience or both. Like the small child with little or no comprehension of "later," who chooses only what gratifies in this moment, we have too little view of eternity. Yes, it's a battle between the flesh and the Spirit. But sometimes I gain an edge in that battle when I change my focus from "now" to "later"—from temporal to eternity.

    (At least that's my take on all this ... : )

  7. know, this was/is a very timely post for me. to put it simply; it's because my faith if you will, has/is going thru a type of shaking. as you said in an earlier post, i've had a bit of a "gap of faith."

    i've read this at least a dozen times trying to get saturated with it. only because that i believed that God in fact did create evil.

    but there's a lot more here for consideration on this end. is this why Jesus is called the second Adam? my mind is swirling with thoughts concerning this post.

    i use to make jokes about the blame game. forgive me, please. but even now, i realize that we all have One Faithful and True Companion...if we choose. that's the difference between the first Adam and the second, yes?

    there's a bit more of chewing here, but i've got go. thank you for this response/teaching, Anne.


  8. I have seen first hand the results of this attitude. Anne -- 70 percent of divorces today are filed by women. Yes, us men aren't always doing our jobs in marriage, but the decision to end it seems to be swinging in the other direction.

  9. Bud, I always enjoy (and make time for) a good dialogue on my favorite topics—the Lord, His Word, unity among His people. Thank you for engaging me.

    As for all the similarities and differences between the first Adam and Jesus as the second Adam ... they are as many as the similarities and differences between God and the humans made in His image.

  10. David, I grieve with you that men and women alike have played a blame game that they far too often drag into a court of law. "No Fault" divorce thought to mitigate the ugliness of the blame game. It merely pulled a cover over it, so that blame thrives and festers without any checks.

    In Christ, we live without condemnation. We also live in subjection to a loving Father, Whose discipline may be trusted, Whose blessings abound as we walk with Him. He is our Shield in realms of both Heaven and Earth, whatever arrows are aimed our direction.

    Halle-lu Yah!


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