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Blame

“St. John Chrysostom writes an encomium of Abraham, pointing out that nothing in his life prepared him for such faithfulness to God. For, when Abraham lived, the Law had not yet been given to Israel, there were no Scriptures or prophets yet. His parents would have raised him in pagan thinking. Despite all of this, Abraham found his way to faith in God and then lived faithfully to God even though all around him there was no encouragement or support to do so. Therefore, we who grow up in a ‘post-Christian’ world, really can’t blame society or history if we are not faithful to God. We have the example of Abraham to inspire us to remain faithful and to live the life of a believer.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“It is only when humanity cuts itself off from God that it becomes afraid of the Lord…For the truth is our becoming lost, separated from God is the result of our own thinking and activity and is not God’s fault, though we frequently blame God for our bad relationship with Him. God for His part continues to seek us out and to call us back to Him. ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments’ (Psalm 119:176)…we do not blame God for our struggles. We understand that we may be drawn away – either by our “own desires” (James 114) or by whatever “gives birth to sin” (vs. 15) – and run the risk of falling into the full-blown sin that “brings forth death” (vs. 15). The worst outcome is to be captured by this world: its assumptions are deadly, no matter how plausible they sound.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Dynamis 2/7/2024)


“What should I do if I doubt that the Lord is all good for me? —The Lord doesn’t condemn doubt, which we see, in particular, from the Gospel—from the image of the Apostle Thomas who is called “doubting”, and even “unbelieving”. He was a man who was not ready to accept everything on faith immediately. And he put some Divine promises and words to the test. But as can be seen from the Gospel events, the Lord didn’t condemn him for that. So, doubt as such is not blameworthy. Not everyone can have at once the faith that is needed in order to move mountains. A person who has come through the crucible of doubts can be much firmer in his beliefs than someone who has never been tested by doubt.” (Bishop Euthymius Moiseyev)


“The confusion between responsibility and guilt can create an obstacle to getting free. We do not have to judge our culpability, even when we take responsibility for wrongdoing. Even if we are to blame, God is not looking to place blame on us. He simply wants to free us. The issue is our willingness to take responsibility for our own life. Do I wish to remain a victim or take hold of my human dignity and walk in freedom? (I don’t mean to minimize the process—it is never simple—but I do want to underscore the principle.)” (Neal Lozano)


“Self-blame, in which we blame ourselves for an event we had no control over, can also be a source of shame….When we engage in self-blame for a negative event we were not responsible for, we can carry a deep feeling of being “bad” for our entire life until it is discovered and resolved….For those who suffer from shame, life can be void of enjoyment, because anything they enjoy is soon followed by feelings of guilt for having enjoyed something. Shame puts aspects of ourselves to sleep. We are no longer aware of or able to feel God’s love, hope, and joy….If shame is unaddressed and humility is absent, human interaction becomes emotionally dangerous.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul, Father Stephen Freeman)


“Divine foreknowledge [of God]…takes away neither…moral freedom nor…accountability. For God, all things are a present reality; He foresees all human actions, but does not cause them…Our God is a peaceful and gentle God. We can lose this awareness if we blame God for the consequences of the free will and decisions of others, such as negative events in our own lives.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 14:21, Fr. Joshua Makoul)


“…just as mankind has continued to hide from the face of God ever since that fateful day in Eden, so too we have persisted in placing the blame for our countless troubles, misfortunes, and sorrows absolutely anywhere other than on our own shoulders. Indeed, humanity’s cries of accusation, fault-finding and blame have perhaps never reached such a fever pitch as they have now in our own day. From behind the safety and anonymity of our electronic screens, we eagerly heap scorn, indignation, hatred, vitriol and disgust upon one another in a worldwide frenzy that cannot possibly be called anything other than demonic. We immediately and insistently call to account other people, other parties, and other nations for every real and imagined fault under the sun; moreover, we are convinced that such mercilessness is itself the true path to justice, that somehow it is only through the proper assigning of blame that paradise can return once again to this earth. And in the blindness of such folly, when tragedy strikes or when disaster befalls almost never does it even occur to us to think: “Perhaps I too had a hand in this. Perhaps my own sins have been a cause of this.” And so an untold multitude of the sins and transgressions of mankind remain unrepented and unhealed.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)


“…humbling events and afflicting circumstances do not necessarily indicate that a man is evil or sinful. In God’s good-but-fallen world, our present state – whether we are enjoying the good things in life, or whether we are afflicted and deprived of worldly pleasures – cannot be directly attributed either to sin or to blameless living.” (Dynamis 8/9/2019)


“Following his tragic moral failure, the penitent King David confesses to God: “Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil before Thee” (Ps 50:4). In his full disclosure of his sin, David neither sidesteps nor glosses over his misdeeds. He does not explain his sin nor qualify his guilt. He fully exposes his soul before God, saying, “I have sinned. I have done evil,” adding, “that Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and prevail when Thou art judged” (Ps 50:4 LXX or 51:4). As part of being completely forthright, King David exonerates God. The fault is entirely his. If anyone questions whether God might have prevented David’s sin, or intervened so that he would not have been tempted, the king would have quickly responded, “The blame is mine entirely. God has no culpability or fault in this matter.” (Dynamis 10/31/2020)


“Chrysostom questions this grumbling against God, “Who was the aggrieved one?” he asks…Misled by their sinful ways, human beings get it all wrong. Their hearts are blind (Eph. 4:18) to the truth that God is not at fault for mortal sin. He was not to blame for the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden. And He is not responsible for the sins of the descendants of Adam and Eve outside the Garden. We should get it straight. The Holy God did not have to reconcile Himself to us, for He had done nothing against us. But He chose to “reconcile all things to Himself.” In 2 Corinthians, Paul puts it, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins against them (vs. 5:19). The word “impute” has the basic sense of taking an inventory…That means that the blameless God did not count the world’s sins on the deficit side of the ledger.” (Fr. Basil)


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