If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us. 1 John 1:9-10
Years ago there was a comedian by the name of Flip Wilson. His signature line -- the line which always drew a great laugh from his audience -- was "The devil made me do it!" Apparently, many folks felt the devil didn't have the ability to make anybody do anything.
On one level that's true.
The devil can't put a gun to our heads and demand we commit this sin or that transgression. On the other hand, he can make it mighty convenient and seemingly desirable for us to follow his wishes and not the Lord's commandments.
Sadly, when most people sin, they don't like to take the blame for the wrong they've done. They find it easier and more convenient to blame the devil, or their upbringing, or their loss of temper, or just about anything rather than themselves. In shifting the blame human creativity is almost boundless.
As proof, I put before you Ryu Matsumoto, the man who for an entire week was Japan's Minister of Reconstruction. On a tour to the earthquake-ravaged cities of Japan, Matsumoto made some remarks which got the people of Japan so upset Matsumoto had to resign.
Rather than taking responsibility for what he had said, Matsumoto blamed his blood type. Yup, you head that rightly. He said, "My blood's type B, which means I can be irritable and impetuous, and my intentions don't always come across." Unlike Flip Wilson's line, this one "My blood type made me do it" didn't gather a lot of laughs.
Scripture is clear: God doesn't want us to ignore, minimize or shift the blame for the things we have done wrong. When people do that, they end up minimizing the work of forgiveness that brought Jesus into the world. Just as bad, they're saying, "I really don't need the Savior because I really haven't done anything that needs forgiving."
What God does want is for us to "confess our sins." Like King David, like the publican in the temple, we need to say, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner." When that happens we know what God will do. The Lord -- who is faithful and just -- will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Because of Jesus' blood we are forgiven. That makes a lot more sense to me than saying, "Because of my blood type I didn't do anything wrong."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, each day I commit sins for which I should be rightly ashamed. May that shame motivate me to confess rather than find an excuse for my transgressions. To that end I pray the Holy Spirit may lead me to an acknowledgement of my sin and an appreciation for the grace given to me through Jesus' sacrifice. This I pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries