Enjoy this devotional from FlourishWriters student Marie T. Palecek
“He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8 NIV).
“Insane!” The verdict was in as soon as the idea reached my ears. We were eight hours and 542 miles into four weeks of on-the-road togetherness. The bickering in the truck followed us into the camper.
“It’s not my fault.”
“I never said that.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Now I’m in the wrong lane!”
“Why can’t you follow simple directions?”
“Why can’t you give simple directions?”
“Seriously, you forgot milk?”
With a muttered “Lord, help us,” dinner was consumed in silence. Silence. A welcome relief after the words hurled at each other all day. Well, not all day.
By mid-afternoon, we had reached our first scheduled destination. With an optimistic and unanimous decision, we embarked on our first impromptu detour: the Badlands of South Dakota. But that enthusiasm had evaporated as we set up camp in the near dark. Frazzled nerves, fueled by exhaustion, threatened to sabotage a year of planning.
Have you ever been blindsided when plans and dreams get flopped in the sand like a fallen ice cream cone with its sprinkles scattered in the mess? Have you cried in defeat, “Lord, help us”? Has God’s answer to that desperate prayer ever defied logic? Has His solution ever seemed perplexing at the time? I was about to have one of those I-did-not-know-what-I-thought-until-I-heard-what-I-said moments.
With a thud, our trip calendar landed on the table as my mouth announced, “That’s it. I am done with this blame game. It stops now! For the rest of this trip, we will take turns. It does not matter what happens. If it is your day. It is your fault. Now, my birthday is next week. I do not care who gets the blame on that day, but it is not going to be me. Sunday is Father’s Day; I will take that one. Any questions?”
After the initial shock wore off, we all nodded bewildered heads. This was weird, but we have done weird before. Dutifully, we filled in the calendar with our designated assignments.
Our trip went remarkably smooth after that. Sure, we missed turns, dumped potato chips, left the cap off the toothpaste, and shoes still wandered into the middle of the floor. But no more eruptions. No more blaming each other. If the milk was spilled, “I’m sorry. That was my fault,” flowed from the lips of the designated blame person.
“I’m sorry about this traffic jam.”
“I’m sorry the waitress got your order wrong.”
“Hey, that guy just went through a red light. Oops, That one’s on me.”
One day, my husband waited in the truck with our dog and cat while my son and I browsed the gift shop. A thunderous crash in the adjacent aisle startled everyone. Without hesitation, my son whispered, “Wow, wait until Pops hears what he did.” After all, it was his blame day.
Towards the end of our trip, we visited a dear aunt and uncle’s log home in Washington state. My auntie and I chatted as we prepared dinner. Suddenly the watermelon rolled off the counter and exploded on the floor. My son called out cheerfully from the porch where the guys were swapping stories, “Sorry, Mom. That was my fault.”
Auntie dashed to my son’s defense, but not before accusing me over her shoulder, “My word, girl. Do you blame your son for everything?” Without realizing it, Designated Blame Day had drifted from weird to normal. How it might be perceived was never considered. Later Auntie laughed, “It is an absurd idea. But you cannot deny the results.”
Designated Blame Day did not prevent the consequences of burnt toast, smashed watermelons, or missed exits. The blame was simply shifted to the designated person who cheerfully shouldered the responsibility. Designated Blame Day was a silly, quirky way to take the tension out of four weeks of 24/7 togetherness. Without daily explosions of pent-up emotions to sabotage our plans, it did indeed become the best road trip ever.
When Jesus took upon himself the sin of mankind, it was not a silly, quirky plan to get us through a rough patch. Infractions like breaking something in a gift shop, spilled dog food, or even running a red light would never constitute the death sentence. But sin does. Whatever the sin; sin is still sin. And sin has consequences. The wages [consequences] of sin is death, Paul says in Romans 6:23, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ our Lord.
Jesus took the blame, paid the consequence, not for a day, but for eternity. Removing the second “s” from the word “sins” was a game-changer for me. Jesus died for my sin. It matters not how horrendous or seemingly insignificant, sin is sin. Almost perfect is not perfect. While in our human bodies, we will never be perfect. God is holy—perfectly holy—and cannot permit any sin to enter His heavenly kingdom. Quite frankly, there is no hope for us . . .except that Jesus willingly endured the ultimate Designated Blame Day on the cross.
Hebrews 7:27 says that Jesus was sacrificed for our sin once for all when He offered himself. We can stand before God’s throne blameless, not because we are. But because Jesus is.
Designated Blame Day de-powerized blame’s devastation on our trip. When Jesus took upon Himself our sin, He de-powerized sin’s devastation on our eternity.
God calls us children. Children fall. They make mistakes. Parents might pay for the damages, but they cannot make them blameless. Only God can. “He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:8 NIV). That is the ultimate Designated Blame Day.
Marie T. Palecek and her husband, John, along with their now adult son, Peter, call Minnesota home. Over the years their family has included numerous rescue dogs and felines. When not at the keyboard, Marie enjoys crocheting, scrapbooking, gardening, camping, and almost anything outdoors.
Marie’s passion is for others to discover anew how deep and wide God’s love is for them. Using stories embossed with humor, trivia, heartache, wisdom, and challenges, Marie teaches her readers how to listen for God’s loving voice in everyday life. Marie’s book, Listen For His Voice, will be released soon.