The Blame Game
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” . . . Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” — therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:8-13, 21-24 NKJV
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they weren’t expelled because of their transgression. They were ejected from paradise because of their self-righteousness and irresponsibility. Though they sinned and manifested the consequences and fruit of sin, they were still in the Garden. God approached them, in their fallen state, to effect reconciliation and sought to get them to take ownership for their choices. They refused to do so, then and only then, they were expelled from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24).
Like Adam and Eve, when one transgresses a commandment of God, undoubtedly as direct result of their own irresponsibleness. Their failure to repent or being slow to ask for forgiveness is the hallmark of self-righteousness. Gross self-righteousness is on display when the fallen chooses to blame someone else for their failure rather than owning up to their misguided choices. I call this: the Blame Game. Adam blamed God and Eve for his transgression, and Eve blamed the serpent for her sinful fall (Genesis 3:12, 13).
Again, sin didn’t get the first man and woman expelled from the Garden, nor did sin isolate them from God. Sin was no problem for God because of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The foundation upon which God could approach fallen man–as a God of mercy and love and reconciliation–is the same foundation you and I can stand upon today—Jesus Christ the Lamb of God whose blood was shed as an atoning sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Blaming others for our failure is a self-righteous game played that gives only a false sense of self-justification, but our sin and transgression, nonetheless, remains.
There’s no need for the Church to expose sin because sin and darkness automatically exposes the sinner. In fact, the business of the Church isn’t to expose sin but rather to show love and acceptance of the sinner like God showed to Adam and Eve. Christians are called to be like Jesus—not exposing sin but denouncing and taking a stand against their own self-righteousness (Matt. 23:23, 24; Gal. 6:1). In the same way, the fallen shouldn’t blame others for their irresponsible choices; neither should the Church publicly hang out the “dirty linen” of those who have failed. Blaming others, whether it is done by a believer or the Church, indicates how far and how cruel self-righteousness can be wielded in the blame game. Personal failures should never be washed publicly. To do so is to take a page out of the playbook of the blame game.