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Denial and blame don’t work with God

December 1, 2010 No Comment

by Don Schiemann

Flight engineers had delayed the launch of the space shuttle Challenger a number of times. Finally, on January 27, 1986, in spite of frost and early morning temperatures at the freezing point, the countdown went ahead. At 11:38 a.m. EST, with millions of pounds of thrust, the rockets lifted from the launch pad, carrying the space shuttle and its occupants. People cheered as the mammoth structure soared higher into the sky, soon to be lost from sight. Suddenly the space shuttle was lost in a great white cloud bursting all over the sky. The rockets had exploded, shattering the space shuttle and killing the astronauts.

Everyone demanded to know what had happened. What went wrong? With so many successful launches, why did this one fail? Would other space shuttles and other crews be destroyed? Initially, everyone involved in the space shuttle program denied any wrongdoing. No one wanted to confess that something he or she might have done incompletely, or forgotten to check, could have led to this tragedy.

The response of people involved in the project became a microcosm of human nature responding to feelings of guilt. Everyone sought to avoid having to confess possible responsibility. And if no one had done shoddy workmanship; everyone had been diligent in work and procedures; no corners of safety or cost had been cut, there would have been no accident. Yet here was the reality: a violent explosion destroyed the Challenger with all hands lost.

When God confronted our first parents in the Garden of Eden with their disobedience, they also played the denial-and-blame game. Eve blamed the serpent for her actions. Adam blamed Eve and then blamed God. No one wanted to take responsibility, but they were all guilty.

Some might say it was no big deal. It was just one little piece of fruit. It was one single act of disobedience. Yet that one act resulted in Adam and Eve losing the perfect image of God. Their children were not born in the image of God, but in the image of their fallen parents. Today the world groans under the accumulated weight of the sins of the world.
There is no getting around it. We are all a result of the problem as well as a part of the problem. Denial and blame don’t work with God because He knows our heart.

St. Paul writes, “…all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” There is no “wiggle room” in that statement. Our only hope is to flee not from God, but to Him. The Bible promises, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

Christ Jesus shed His holy and perfect blood as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Our only hope is to confess our sinfulness and our sins and then to rest in the forgiveness Christ has won for us at the cross and the victory that is ours in His resurrection. “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Rev. Don Schiemann is president of Lutheran Church–Canada’s Alberta-British Columbia District

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