When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17)

THE ROOT SURFACED in the garden when Adam blamed Eve, and she in turn blamed the serpent. Unfortunately, the deadly vine didn’t end there, but infected others and eventually spread across nations. In Egypt, the Israelite foremen blamed Moses and Aaron for the extra work and harsher conditions implemented by Pharaoh. Even years later and under different circumstances, King Ahab blamed Elijah as the source of the Israelites’ trouble.

Citing another for one’s trouble isn’t exclusive to biblical times. Students blame the teacher for poor grades. Friends blame their troubles on their buddies. Workers indicate their bosses as reasons for slacking off the job. The accusations unfold in households as spouses and siblings charge each other with various infractions.

By offering a scapegoat, we may momentarily feel better about ourselves. However, avoiding ownership of a problem does not absolve one from responsibility. While we may be able to convince others that the fault lies elsewhere, God knows the truth. And unless we take ownership of our part of the problem, the issue has little chance for resolution.

Is there an area of your life where you are blaming another for your trouble? Although implicating another seems less painful than admitting fault, examining ourselves is an important step in discovering the root. Once the root is discovered, we can take steps to remove the offensive vine as we walk towards reconciliation.

Ask God to examine your heart, expose the root, and help you change.

Jill Printzenhoff is a science teacher and avid reader. She enjoys kayaking, fishing, bike riding, hiking, and vacationing with her husband and their two daughters.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.