And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”  Genesis 16:4-5  ESV

Human nature is complicated in its sinfulness.  When someone is guilty, sometimes they don’t think they can bear it.  To feel better, they transfer the blame and lash out at someone as if the whole matter were their fault.  This is ‘blame-shifting.’

Sarai did it.  God made Sarai and Abram a promise of a child in their old age.  Sarai fainted as time progressed and believed God wasn’t good for it.  She took matters into her own hands and told Abram to sleep with her handmaid so there would be a child for her to hold in her arms.  Abram did what she asked.  When Hagar became pregnant, Sarai lashed out at Hagar, who only did what she was told.  She then lashed out at Abram (who was also guilty), yet Sarai was the one who had originally suggested their sinful detour.

It is a rare person who is willing to be humbled under the hand of God. There is a season where each of us is led to submit to God’s discipline for our choices.  The consequences unfold and they seem too much to bear.  Grace is poured out if we ask, and as we look to God for strength to endure, He gives a gift for our forbearance.  Wisdom!  He shows us what it is in each of us, specifically, that urged us to cave into the pressure to sin.  He reveals each step we took as we approached sin’s threshold.  He shows us the sin from His viewpoint and what harm it produced.  After a time, he starts shedding light on what redemption will look like.  One step at a time, He leads us out.  As forgiveness and restoration begin to take place, we are given a gift that will live in us forever, a firsthand experience of the nature and character of a just and forgiving God.

Only You, Lord, can lead me through the minefield of real guilt and false guilt.  Only You can help me suffer patiently for the wrongs I’ve done.  Restoration is mine but only as a reward for accepting Your hand of discipline.  I see there are no shortcuts.  Grace and comfort…you offer.   Amen

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