By Adam Faughn
Recently, we had the first "Friday the 13th" of 2022. May was the first month of this year that had that date on the calendar, which also made it a day that some celebrated. In fact, there is a decent chance some of us celebrated, even if we did not know it.
While this holiday may not be on the calendar on your wall or computer screen, the
first "Friday the 13th" of each year is celebrated by some as "National Blame Someone Else Day." (And, no, I'm not kidding. It's a real thing!) If you are looking for the next chance to celebrate, by the way, the first "Friday the 13th" of 2023 comes early. It is in January.
In learning about this holiday, I found a couple of remarks about it to be very interesting. While I hope they were said (or typed) with tongue firmly in cheek, they may reveal a great deal about how many people live their lives. Maybe the most telling was a website called daysoftheyear.com, which called this holiday "the compulsive liar's dream day."
While the idea of such a day on our calendar, even in jest, may be a bit humorous, it also sheds light on how blaming other people is commonplace and has been from near the very beginning. In Scripture, we read of several who decided to blame others for their sins.
- Even in the Garden of Eden, Eve blamed the serpent for her decision to take and eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:13).
- But she learned to shift the blame from her husband, Adam, who had blamed Eve and, by extension, God Himself for his sin (Genesis 3:12).
- King Saul blamed the people for taking spoils from a battle when they had been commanded to destroy everything (1 Samuel 15:21).
That is what we must constantly keep in mind: we choose right or wrong. It is true that there are influences that tempt us to do things that are wrong. It is also true that we live in a dark culture, so the "pull" to evil is strong.
The fact is, however, we still choose to do what is right or what is wrong. God has not created us to be victims of our circumstances. He has not made us helpless, even in the face of strong temptations. He has given each of us the ability to choose, and He has given us His inspired Word, which tells us the way of righteousness and wisdom.
Further, it tells us something that we are so quick to blame other people when we choose sin. It may speak to how we inherently know that we have to answer for our decisions and that we have to answer to Someone Who is greater than we are. If that were not the case, why would we be so quick to want to absolve ourselves of a wrong choice? Yes, it is in part to attempt to "get out of it" quickly. But it seems there is something deeper, and that is that we know we must answer for what we have chosen.
As God's people, though, we should take ownership of our sinful decisions. That is true because it is the right thing to do. But it is also true because, only when we do, can we seek God's forgiveness immediately. That, above all else, should be what we want. Our desire should not be just to get out of a situation but to be saved from it by God Himself.
While "Blame Someone Else Day" only comes once each year, far too many of us are tempted to celebrate it every day (and even multiple times each day). Yes, we may be tempted in that direction, but may we remember that each day is an opportunity to do something far better: to live righteously and to be grateful for the forgiving grace of God when we fail to do so.
Instead of blaming someone else, may we accept His forgiveness and then strive to do better each day. That would seem to be a way to make much better use of our time (cf. Ephesians 5:16)."For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." (2 Corinthians 5:10)