“I suppose life is your fault, too. While you’re at it, why don’t you blame yourself for that? Saint Ben p. 178
When Jonathan blames himself for a bike accident that puts Ben in the hospital, Ben comes up with this sarcastic comment — sarcastic, but appropriate. Blame never helps even when you use it on yourself.
Blame doesn’t help for at least two reasons (I’m sure there are more). First, blame is always about the past — the past we can’t do anything about. So it’s useless to try. About the only thing the past is good for is learning from it in order to affect a change in the future. Second, we are sinful people living in a fallen race. We make mistakes, we blow it, we hurt people … if we were to blame ourselves for everything we do wrong, we would never even get out of the gate. The only way forward is to forgive — forgive ourselves, forgive others and move on because of God’s amazing grace.
The only one who can take all the blame and the shame and live is Jesus. That’s why Jesus went to the cross — not you or me — and then He rose again from the dead to put our sin away forever. So to blame yourself as Jonathan did in our story, is to mock the death of Jesus Christ. As in: “Yes, Christ died to pay for our sins and our failings and mistakes, but I have to pay a little for this one. Ben is my best friend. Christ’s death wasn’t enough. I have to suffer, too. I have to climb up on the cross with Jesus.” Nonsense.
The only one who belongs on that cross is Jesus. So Jonathan did make a big mistake. He didn’t screw the generator down tightly enough for the light on Ben’s bike, and it slipped down, caught in the spokes of the front wheel and catapulted Ben’s face into the back end of a 1958 Pontiac station wagon, breaking his nose and sending him to the hospital. Yes, Jonathan did that, but what ends up happening to Ben is not his fault. Sin and death entered the world long before Jonathan, or you or I, showed up, and where sin abounds, grace did much more abound. That’s why in Christ, there is no shame and no blame.