Lent 4

When Hagar saw she had conceived, she looked with contempt upon her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you.’”(Genesis 16:4-5)

How quickly Sarai’s contentment turns to fear and jealously. God had promised Abram; “Look toward heaven and count the stars….so shall your descendants be. (Genesis 15:5)

Not content to wait for God’s fulfilling of that promise, Sarai arranges for Hagar (her servant) to hurry things along. Abram takes Hagar as wife, she conceives, and the deep longing of Abram’s heart (to have an heir) is filled.

Unhappy, Sarai blames Hagar, blames Abram, blames God; blames everyone but herself.

I’m reminded of another passage, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but not the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

How quick we are sometimes to blame our lot on others; “If she wasn’t so difficult we could get along.” “If they could just see that my way’s the better way the problem would be solved.” “If someone would only give me what I need my life would be better.”

Blaming others can make us feel better, but never for long. Jesus reminds us that it is always easier to see the fault in others; not so easy in ourselves. “Before you blame another, look within yourself first. Want things to be different? Start by changing yourself.”

Blame seldom makes us feel better. It never makes another feel better. It hinders reconciliation, and cuts us off from others. Blame involves judgement and who but God is fit to judge?

Next time I am tempted to blame another for something going wrong (and by that I mean “not my own way”) perhaps I ought to have a good hard look at myself first; not as victim, but rather as God’s vessel. What have I done to create the problem? Where have I hurt another or diminished the Christ-light in them. How can I change and become God’s instrument for peace?

Truth is, there will always be people who choose to not like us, sometimes even when they do not know us. The problem is theirs, and nothing we do will change that. But we can choose not to blame; not to return hurt for hurt. We can look at ourselves, and look to God, pray for them, and give God thanks for the blessings he grants to us even through those who stand against us.

Jesus tells us to, “love God and one another”; some people we just have to do that from a distance.

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