I woke up today to several emails complaining about my typos. I’m definitely not beyond typos, but I didn’t know what the emails were referring to. Then I figured it out…someone wrote a devotional from this past weekend’s sermon that contained typos. Honestly, I didn’t really care…I was actually more disappointed in the nasty tone of the emails (which I’ll share in tomorrow’s post about how not to respond in email). Anyway, the editor and the author of the devotional (Jon Walker) took responsibility for his mistake. I think Jon sets a good example for leaders to follow.

But It Was the Snake’s Fault
By Jon Walker

God asked. “Did you eat the fruit that I told you not to eat?” The man answered, “The woman you put here with me gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” The LORD God asked the woman, “Why did you do this?” She replied, “The snake tricked me into eating it.” Genesis 3:11-13 (TEV)

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When God found Adam eating fruit in the garden, Adam stood up like a man and blamed it on Eve. Eve, wanting to set a better example, blamed it on the snake. And in the twisted, pretzel logic only a snake can have, the snake — in a sense — blamed it on God.

Embedded in our fallen nature is the instinct to not only dodge the blame ourselves, but also shift the blame to someone or something else. Praise Jesus, he comes with nail-scarred hands and a thorny crown, paying the price so that we can stop blaming, confess our sins, and stand blameless before our Father in heaven.

This is on my mind today because yesterday I made a mistake that rippled around the world through these devotionals. We’ve been trying to match what is being taught at Saddleback each week, to reflect what God has placed on Pastor Rick’s heart.

This past weekend, Doug Fields, who for many years served on staff at Saddleback, was the guest speaker in our services. Doug is a world-class communicator and the devotional yesterday — on teaching your kids to communicate — was intended to reflect his weekend teaching. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in editing the material and Doug wound up looking like he doesn’t know how to communicate.

As I reflected on the mistake, I found myself wanting to shift the blame. I rehearsed excuses. Perhaps you’ve been there. Perhaps you can hear an echo from the Garden: “She told me to do it.” “He tricked me into it.” “Did God really say you shouldn’t do it? Perhaps he’s just trying to keep you from what is best for you.”

Did Jesus really say we are forgiven, or do we still need to hide behind excuses and blame? Where’s the safest place to be — under the cross of Jesus, or in the shadows cast by our pride and fear?

Praise God, Jesus frees us so we can stop hiding from God. He frees us to walk in his grace, following him into the presence of our heavenly Father.

Tomorrow: I plan to post the two tones of emails that I received…I think we can learn from them too. One type got my attention, one type got my disdain.