Who is to Blame?


Perhaps you know the story of Job, shown here with his wife. He was a prosperous and godly man, blessed with wealth and family. Satan questions Job’s dedication to God, claiming that Job only loves God because life is easy. He wants to know would happen if Job faced adversity. God allows Satan to have his way with Job. His wife, who is no help at all, offers her only advice: “Curse God and die.”

In Job’s hand is a piece of pottery, which he is using in a vain attempt to ease the terrible itching of the sores afflicting his body. He does not look at his wife, though. Is he looking at us or at God? Either way, it is almost as if he is saying, “No, I didn’t do something to deserve this, no matter what anybody thinks.”

Did Job deserve what he was getting? Does it matter? We all make mistakes. We all have moral failings. No one does everything right every day. I can think of a dozen ways I have messed up today—and its only noon. Thank God there is more to who we are than a list of our infractions and failings. To cope with our shortcomings, we may look for somebody to blame. Somebody to curse. We want others to get what they deserve. But that is not how God’s economy works.

The phrase, “grace upon grace” has been my mantra lately. I need to be reminded to show grace upon grace to others as God has shown grace upon grace to me. During these trying times, my emotions rub a little raw and I get a little impatient, mostly with myself. It seems weird that, at my age, I am still surprised by my faults. Shouldn’t I be better than this by now? But God’s invitation is not to be surprised by our faults, but to confess them. Then, what we “deserve” is erased by the grace of God shown to us through Jesus the Christ.

Being Human connection: May you be able to embrace the grace of God that has been freely given and joyfully lavished upon you.  And in turn, may you be able to show grace upon grace to others and to yourself.

Featured art: Jusepe de Ribera (Spagnoletto), Job on the Ash Heap, circa 1630