Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody.
Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (Galatians 6:1-5 NLT 1st Ed.)
We've all done it, right? Tried to evade responsibility by pretending not to be aware. Defending a dumb act by saying everybody else does it. Saying it isn't really so bad after all. Or by blaming it on somebody else.
This one has to be the ultimate cop-out of all time. A woman charged with the murder of her three-year-old daughter told a sheriff's investigator it was the little girl's fault she died from a beating. Since three-year-old Kayla never cried, "Ouch!" insists the woman, she just didn't know when to quit hitting her. The fact that she was screaming "No, mommy! No, mommy!" and running around the room to try to escape the pummeling apparently didn't count as a signal.
The story of the Ypsilanti Township (Michigan) woman indicted for the crime was reported in the Ann Arbor News earlier this month. Kayla died July 17 of what court records indicate to have been a veritable catalog of brutal injuries. In addition to terrible lacerations to her liver and blood found in both her abdominal and chest cavities, it was a forceful blow that tore open the right atrium of her heart that actually caused her death. There were old scars and healing fractures on a rib and arm (that had not been set) documented in her autopsy.
It's the most horrible instance I have ever heard about for blaming another person for one's action. And it should do more than just offend and scandalize.
For another, it can remind us to take responsibility for goofs, foul-ups, and moral failures. Teach your children that lying or refusing to be accountable is a far worse offense than breaking either a toy or a rule. And the best way to teach that lesson is to model mature behavior around them. Among other things, mature behavior means trying to make good choices and owning up to it when you don't.
Maybe I was sensitive to Kayla's story because my wife and I got to help a terrific group of people host some abused women and children for dinner last week. We got to provide a safe and caring place for people who had good reason not to trust anybody. We played games with the children and heard them laugh.
It's too bad Kayla didn't have a safe place. It's too bad the woman who gave birth to her has come up with nothing better than to fault her for her murder.