Jesus takes us beyond the blame game

Published 8:03 pm Saturday, June 11, 2016

By JACK ALVEY | St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

A few weeks ago the country went crazy over a horrifying incident that happened at a zoo when a mother lost track of her son long enough for him to end up in a Gorilla pit.

The scene went viral on social media when people who witnessed the account captured the scene on their smart phones.

As the story developed, the gospel that derives from human understanding started getting passed around which is the blame game—a game that started at the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden.

In the end, the mother of the boy came out as the biggest villain.

Her entire life was put under a microscope. Talking heads dissected her every move.

The mother was made out to be both a negligent mother and a hater of animals. The mother lost the blame game.

Upon reflection, the whole event reminded me just how lacking the gospel according to human understanding is.

According to our human sensibilities, if blame can be put squarely on the shoulders of someone else, then we are justified and our hands are clean — we can forget about our own colossal failures.

Perhaps, the biggest problem with the human gospel of blame is that it makes imperfect human beings both the judge and jury.

We remove ourselves from the equation and act as if we are somehow innocent and above failure.

A blogger noted, “Sometimes terrible things happen, and there are no mechanisms for blame that will make anyone feel better…I wish that we could see ourselves in the trauma. I wish that we would remember those times that we have completely lost control.”

In other words, we must be ready to admit that we are just as guilty as Gorilla pit mom. Anytime something goes terribly wrong in our community, in our world, we all must be ready to admit that we are just as liable to make the same mistake. We must be ready to admit that we are the lucky ones because we didn’t get caught on camera.

But because we don’t trust God’s message of grace and mercy, we look for someone who has done worse than ourselves. We look for the least and most vulnerable and take it out on them. We look for Gorilla mom because we want blood. And blood is what God gives us.

Jesus, the One who became the least and the most vulnerable was nailed to a cross for all of us sinners and the world was put to shame. Jesus, the only One who did not sin, the only One who could judge with impartiality, showed mercy and took the blame that was ours. And the good news is that Jesus rose from the dead to show us life beyond the blame game, a life where mercy reigns.