I remember two brothers who used to live beside me when I was about 12. We were all playing football or something one day, when the two brothers ran straight into each other. After picking himself up, one started screaming at the other for being stupid, so the other screamed back, “You bumped into me first!”
Many people say that we are living in a blame society. It is to be expected. This story of the two brothers happened nearly 50 years ago and the attitude was by no means new then. As Solomon tells us, there is nothing new under the sun. We always like to find someone else to blame, especially when it lets or gets us off the hook. We even trivialise it by calling it “the blame game.”
Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation.
It is easy for us to think that temptation comes from the outside – to point the finger at the devil, or people around us, the pressures of life – anything else which we can blame. It’s never my fault really. We talk about “when temptation comes” as if it is travelling to reach us, or someone has posted it to us.
But James is telling me that there is no journey, no external delivery system. It’s in me. It all starts in me. I have the desires in the first place. I am the source of the temptation. Temptation is birthed in me. Temptation stems from my desires and it feeds them.
So, I am not going to point the finger at x, y or z. I have only myself to blame. I am not going to worry about temptation any more, because temptation isn’t the problem. I am going to worry about the desires, try to control them, get rid of them. Get rid of them = get rid of temptation.
Blame game? Game over!