Who's Responsible?

Our monthly homeschool meeting was over, and we were cleaning the house after everyone had left. The young children of several couples had played together with our four children for most of the evening, and there was a trail of toys throughout the house. Walking to my son's room with my hands full of toys, I stopped short as I went through the doorway. I couldn't believe my eyes as I stared at his broken bed. The scene told me that the bed had been converted into a trampoline, and from the look of things, whoever had bounced on it had a good time.

Lining my children up for an interrogation didn't take long. One by one I drilled them with questions, trying to find out who was responsible. My anger at this senseless destruction probably prompted each one to claim innocence in the matter. After 15 minutes of explanations, I realized that "nobody" was at fault. You know, "nobody" is that invisible person who lives at everyone's home — the one who gets the blame when bad things happen.

Our children are not the only ones who avoid taking the blame. We do, too, don't we? Who likes to admit their mistakes or suffer the consequences for their actions? We are all quick to let the blame fall on someone else, especially if there are so many people involved that the obvious offender cannot be found. The sin of Achan in Joshua 7 is a prime example. Not until God literally lined up the entire nation of Israel tribe by tribe did Achan finally confess his sin of stealing gold, silver, and a beautiful garment from the city of Ai. Caught in his deception, Achan and his family, as well as all of his belongings, were destroyed for violating God's holiness.

What about you? Do you weasel out of your mistakes by letting others take the blame for your actions? Do you have enough integrity to stand up and say, "I was responsible"? Whether the issue is big or little, don't wait until someone has to back you against the wall before you admit you've done wrong. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed" (James 5:16a).

Father, forgive me for staying silent and letting others suffer the consequences of my wrongs. Help me to admit when I have made a mistake and not lie by trying to cover up the problem. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(23 comments)


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LYNDA B 11/03/2008 06:26:01

Wonderful lesson, It does take courage to stand up and confess you did something wrong, I pray we will all do what is pleasing and right in the sight of God , In Jesus name.

CYNDY O 11/03/2008 11:40:14

I agree that you have made a good point. Our children learn integrity by watching us. However, I also want to suggest that you might have been asking the wrong questions. WHO broke the bed is difficult to answer if (as is likely) most of the children present participated in jumping, and more than one was on the bed at the exact moment that it let go. After all, the heaviest child was not actually more wrong in jumping, was he/she? Nor was the one who jumped the most, nor the highest. If jumping was not allowed, then even one jump was wrong, whether it was the "last straw" for the bed or not. I might suggest questions of "Did you know anyone was jumping on the bed?" "What choices did you have then? And what did you choose?" Probably, each and every child knew the jumping was occuring. Each of them had the opportunity to suggest another game, and/or to tell a grown-up that play was getting out of control. ALL of them were responsible for that choice, and apparently, none of them made the best choice.

EILEEN M 11/03/2010 00:32:05

I would like your advice regarding our beautiful little home school co-op and taking the blame. It is not really blaming someone but more in line with communicating to each other better. The co-op started off well but into the second week my daughter overheard from her friends that there was going to be a Halloween party for the kids. The only problem is - she was not invited. The co-op members are like family to us and this hurt her dearly. I worked with her at home. She seems to have successfully gotten over the initial shock. I want to ask other members why she wasn't invited and work with my daughter to solve any problems. My daughter is rather quite but has a joyful disposition. I tried to teach her to be more confident and give people space. This seems to be helping her. I don't want to be a bother to our co-op family members. This is a learning experience for us. There is going to be a gathering for the mom teachers soon. How do you think I should ask other moms if they know why my daughter wasn't invited? Or should I ignore the situation and continue to go through the year wondering why we were excluded. I do not want to blame anyone. I just want to help my daughter. I called the leader of my group to ask her and left a brief message. She did not return my phone call. Any advice?

ELISHA H 11/03/2010 01:25:49

Eileen, my advice, from my experience with 4 girls, is to first check my heart to make sure that I am not just taking up my daugther's offense. If after much prayer and seeking the Lord on this I still feel led to confront the situation then I go to the next step and check with my husband to weigh my desire to confront the people and situation. If my husband agrees then I know I am hearing from God and my motives are not selfish if he does not agree I know that if I do confront the situation whether or not my motives are right I would be in sin by confronting becuase I did not have the agreement of my husband (and this is where God's blessings for you and your children are, us under the covering of your husband.) Also we have to remember that it is not sin for our children to not be included in everything and that if we take up their offense and confront situations like this it can lead to further exclusion because it causes the other people to feel really uncomfortable, for example, feeling as if I hang out with them at all I have to invite them to everything or their feelings get hurt, so I just won't hang out at all. I usually leave situations like this alone and try to teach my children that life is not always fair...when they grow up I can't always run in and make things better. Also, I have to stop and think if I do this and from now on my children are invited are they being invited out of desire by the others or out of guilt and feeling they have no other choice. Mom rescue can most of the time (in these type situations) be detremental and do the exact opposite of what we would desire to accomplish. I hope this helps. Sincerely and intended in love, Elisha Holmes

CHERYL A 11/03/2010 03:42:04

Why would you want to go to a halloween party anyway? God calls us to be set apart, if we are true believers. That day is a day set aside by satan, not by God. You can not serve 2 masters. And he says we are not to follow after other gods. He is a jealous god. A tree is known by its fruits. If you say you are followng God, but continue to participate in one of satan's holy days...who are you really followng? Pray about that and God will show you.

CHRISTY T 11/03/2010 06:17:42

I have to agree with the other moms on this one, sometimes we have to just let things go. Chances are your daughter will find out why on her on. Also, I think particapating in Halloween is wrong, I think teaching our children to give up somethings for the Lord is a wise choice, in letting our children know that we don't have to do everything that someone else does, then we teach them to abide in Christ.

OLIVIA S 11/03/2010 07:39:05

I think it's common sense to know that Halloween is a separation from God. Obviously, it's a day of evil, don't we all know about this day. Well my church is trying to prevent that from happening, so we have an event taken place at church 6-9 p.m [on Halloween]. It is called, "Blessed House." We have games,candy, prizes almost like a carnival at the same time all activities we all learn more about our God. Its like an alternative to Halloween. Of course, we don't allow costumes, because it isn't something to celebrate. Oh well, this devotion taught me a great lesson, I should just be humble and admit I'm wrong. We all aren't perfect!

JEANNE S 11/03/2010 07:54:51

Eileen, as the mother of six - 3 boys and 3 girls and now in my 50's ... I'm believing the important lesson here is to teach your daughter not to take things personally. This lesson took me 40 years of my life to learn. The enemy loves to steal our joy. Many things are out of our control, but resting in our Father's provision and choosing Joy and LIFE in HIM is something we can do. Others get busy with their life or have their own "issues" which may be the reason for excluding your precious daughter. I pray this is an opportunity for growth, not an opportunity for the enemy to steal anything. Blessings abundant in Messiah, Jeanne

barbara j 11/03/2010 09:04:19

The devotional was about not admitting a wrong. My first problem is not with the children who were acting like, well, children; but with the adults. Why wasn't an adult looking in on the chiuldren to be sure things were ok? Why were toys and such allowed to be strung out around the house? When you have any kind of group situation, it is the responsibility of the adults to guide and instruct the children. If this wasn't done then the children should not be held accountable for the damage. Yes children know right from wrong, but they do learn from the examples of the adults who are supposed to be teaching them. Obviously the adults were taking a non active role, so the children did what children do when not supervised. The accountability lies with the adukts on this. As to the second situation; I think you might consider that there was only so much space at the party site and a limit had to be set on invitations. My grandchildren recently had a birthday party, and invited SOME not all of their classmates. Mom did not make the decision, she simply gave them a number they could have. The facility held 15, so they had to decide. When you were a child you wouldn't have invited every kid in your class, so why should the child who is having the party be expected to invite everyone in the co-op group? Mom should remind the child that we don't have cookie cutter relationships with all of our friends. there will be other parties and events, and she should just enjoy her friends when the opportunities arise and not worry about it.

Alisa J 11/03/2010 11:54:50

In regards to the comments made about Halloween; I try my best to follow the Lord and I love our heavenly father. I have been raised celebrating Halloween. We never associated it with the devil. I understand that the creation of Halloween has connections to Satin, but no one I know of or have seen associates the holiday with evil at all. It is a fun time for children to dress up and go around the neighborhood and get candy. For most that celebrate Halloween it has nothing to do with anything evil. My children would have no idea that there EVER was a connection between the fun night and the devil. I guess I just have a hard time seeing the wrong in it when there is no association between the night of dressing up and fun and to anything to do with evil. We went to an activity called trunk-or-treating in a church parking lot this year. If I knew it truly is wrong in the eyes of God to celebrate Halloween, even though (for all those I know who celebrate it) now-days it has nothing to do with evil or the devil, then I would not participate. I do think though that a holiday should be created to fulfill the fun of dressing up and going out to collect candy. Is celebrating todays Halloween really seen as a form of worshiping the Devil???

KRISTEN T 11/03/2010 13:50:54

Eileen, as far as not being invited to the party (what they are celebrating is not the issue) I would think of it this way: do you really want to know why she wasn't invited? Asking something like that, for one, puts people on the spot and, for two, can make for a very hurtful response that you or your daughter may not want to hear. I would suggest in order to have friends, be a friend. Not to say these people are not your friends. But focus more on what you can do. Have your own get-together or activities and let your daughter invite the people she would like to spend time with. Maybe other girls who don't seem to have a lot of friends. Or better yet, invite those who don't know Jesus. People can disappoint us so put your hope in Him. "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." John 16:33.

barbara j 11/03/2010 14:08:43

1 thess 5:22 says to avoid every kind of evil. 3 john 11 says not to imitate evil. If we participate in an activity that encourages children to dress as evil characters then we are hardly avoiding it, and we are definitely imitating it. I have personally experienced being at a alternative party to halloween, and having members of a local satanic group circle the church in dark robes chanting who knows what. They were taking the holiday serious, and as Christians I personally believe that we should as well. Evil is real and active. satan is real and searches for weakness. Should we allow our children to wear clothing that advertises tobacco or alcohol? We aren't letting them drink or smoke so what is the problem? (sarcasm) Remember that as believers we are setting the example to the unsaved. I am not opposed to children dressing up. I have a dress up box of clothes at my house for my grandchildren. I am not opposed to parties and candy. Perhaps instead of having alternative parties where church members give candy out of the trunk of their cars where skeletons and jack-o-lanterns sit; we could have a fun fest a week or two away and let the kids just have a costume party. Play games, win prizes, and even go home with a bag of goodies if you like; but don't try to white wash the holiday. I have gone the route from being raised participating, to letting my kids, to realizing what I was teaching my kids and non- believers. It is up to each of us individually. I am not judging anyone. I have been there. I am just sharing my view. Philippians 4;8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true,noble,right,pure,lovely,admirable excellent or praisworthy, think about such things. For me, if what my child will see or experience doesn't fit here then I choose to abstain. Stand strong in the Lord.

AUDREY A 11/03/2010 18:03:16

This story just reminded me of the similar things that happen in my home. I would be very curious to know how the whole thing ended in the author's home.

JULIE A 11/03/2010 22:53:42

What our family has done for several years on Holloween is something we call 'treat for treat'. My children are not allowed to dress up in anything 'evil' looking. This year they wore their prairie outfits, (we have 6 girls - and another girl due in 8 weeks). We buy a big bag of candy at Sam's and then fill, maybe 35 to 50 bags with the candy. We then add a tract that gives the plan of salvation in each bag. We take all our bags with us, ring the doorbell and say 'treat for treat'. Our 'treat' has been rejected maybe 5 times in all the years we've been doing it.

Alisa J 11/04/2010 07:21:13

Julie A That is a wonderful idea!!! What a great way to make Halloween an opportunity to pass on glorious wisdom. I love it!

EILEEN M 11/04/2010 09:51:29

Thank you all for your advice. You seem to agree with my husband and go the route of not bringing the subject up. This is good advice as our last co-op the kids all got along great and my daughter was not being excluded. I am also having a coffee for the moms at my house (building upon one of your ideas). I may never know why my daughter wasn't invited but this may be o.k. As long as the situation isn't affecting our little co-op, I believe she is showing the strength to seperate from the rejection she initially felt. As for the halloween party - I'm not even sure if people dressed up. This is just what the event was called. The last co-op session we all talked about specific Saints we picked out and dressed up as while others had to guess who the Saint was. The members of our co-op don't participate in pagan rituals that are a detriment to their spiritual growth. I know Halloween gets a bad wrap for this and rightly so. Anyway, I thank those of you that have given me advice because I was overly concerned about my daughter. I guess I was hurting for her. Time has a way of healing wounds (along with all of your advice that assisted in desolving my worry).

DEBBIE H 11/03/2011 03:57:39

You're daughter sounds like my daughter. Fun, but takes a long time to warm up to other children. I admire that she is cautious and observant and does not take friendship lightly. She wants to make real, meaningful connections. She is joyful, but not silly. Most of the time. I would talk to my husband, who would probably say to let it go. I understand that he is not there trying to establish relationships and they think differently than we do. But still listen to him because you will be blessed and it is right. As far as Halloween. It still glorifies murder and death. Consider it a protection that she was not invited. We gave up Halloween several years ago, once I looked into it and became convicted that Jesus would not have His children do this. Also, we are setting up gluttony and sending our children to the homes of strangers. Our world has gotten worse since we were younger. Well, I'm 50, so speaking for myself in that last statement. It's hard to have a party and run back and forth to check on the kids. I'm sorry no other mom thought to. Sometimes mom's don't want to correct because it's not their house. Or the other way around, 'Don't correct my children." In my own home, really? I'm old fashioned and if a child is acting up in my home, they will hear from me. Next time make it a point to tell someone to please be the 'watcher' because last time the bed was broken and leave it at that. I had a frame broken in my daughter's bed room from the same situation. Thankfully no one was injured. But I wasn't happy and then realized No one was watching them and apparently, yes, I do have to do everything. Now I tell a mom to go check on them. Or my husband. That usually works. I suggest a be thankful party in November or a winter glow party in January and invite everyone. Be gracious and have a lot of fun. Consider other fall events to attend. Tell them that you will buy them candy if that's what they want or have a movie night with popcorn, go to the movies, bowling, decorate a pumpkin...that said sometimes people are offendended if they have a face because of that background but you do what's right for your family), make a scarecrow, do a hayride, go apple picking, hand out tracks on Halloween or go out that day/night. Several of my neighbors, including myself do not do Halloween and I sense it is the Holy Spirit at work in our development of 40 homes. The word must be out, we're not the place to go:) Last year I sent an e-mail to members in my family that instead of focusing on the Spirit of Halloween ( I was so sick of seeing that commercial) that we should start to focus more on the Holy Spirit and think about the Christmas Spirit. Well, they said I was 'shoving it down their throats'. The Lord said we would be persecuted, but His yolk is easy. Hope this helps.

MELANIE W 11/03/2011 05:31:42

As a devotional writer myself, I am sad to see how many comments were not thanking the author, but criticizing her and then the other commenters. I think the point of taking responsibility for our own sin, rather than pointing the finger of blame, was completely missed. Thank you, writer, for taking the risk to be real. I am so blessed by these devotionals.

JENIFER H 11/03/2011 06:55:08

With relation to Halloween - why is this day considered beyond redemption more than any other day? You could argue that it is celebrated around the time of the fall equinox, or Samhain, a pagan holiday. However, the origin of "Halloween", "All Saints Day" and the "Day of the Dead" was actually in honor of the martyrs of the Christian faith. It was placed at the same time as a pagan celebration to turn people's attention back toward God. The placement of Christmas at the winter solstice, and the symbol of the Christmas tree have a very similar origin! As long as our celebration brings glory to God, I see no problem in celebrating Halloween!

SONYA S 11/03/2011 07:03:28

Halloween is an issue of the heart. Everything in the world can be considered evil if it doesn't fall under the "law". But we're not bound by the law. I agree not to be "celebrating" Halloween, by not dressing up as evil or scary junk. Kids love to dress up and they like candy. The majority of homes in American (and around the world) exchange gifts on Dec 25, and many have pine trees in their living room. The Indian family down the street from us even has "Christmas" lights on their house! And are wearing turbans to boot! Are they celebrating Christmas? For most in the world, no, they are just partakers of some fun. Again..it's the heart. My Wendy, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell are only allowed to ToT at homes we know as well. We say "Treats, please" and call it Happy Harvest. There's absolutely nothing demonic about it. There are no decorations around our home for Halloween, just fall/ harvest. No spooky costumes allowed :)

MASHELL A 11/03/2011 07:13:17

I really enjoyed these commentaries today. The devo was exactly what I needed. I want to thank all of the view points. I had a friend who went to church all of her life (although of course I do not know her personal heart relationship with the Lord) and when we graduated and she moved to california she became involved with the wrong crowd. She became a wicca (however it is spelled) and then came back to our home town and was doing rituals and spells on her farm. So it is real and if your being convicted by the Lord please heed his warnings! Again this devo was exactly what I needed, thank you!

KATHY S 11/03/2012 05:46:25

First, a thank you to the Author for another great devotional that has us all thinking and commenting. 2nd; Olivia S. is a young girl homeschooling herself. She is brave and strong and really loves God. Lets be kind and not give Negative reviews. I think that her comment was very good. Our church does a non scary "Trunk or treat" think to reach our to the community and the unsaved. I took my son when he was little to the relatives, he was always dressed non scary. And about at age 11 he made the decision that he didn't want to dress up anymore, he felt the day was evil and now on Halloween, we go out to eat and avoid the whole thing! I always ask him did he want to dress up etc. No desire now. Isn't that something? Anyway, it's fine with me, what ever makes him happy. Jumping on the bed. Well my Mom was kind and has a 1st communion party for my son when we used to be Catholic. There were all of 5 kids there. One of the kids played "Sit and Spin" on my mons little side table until it broke and told no one. I was angry and felt bad for my Mom. I replaced her table and apologized. I was actually checking in on the kids periodically. The girl who broke it was pretty sneaky in her works. As many times as I checked, it all looked normal. When we attended Catholic school for 5 months (BTW was as bad as Public school I might add, the childrens behavior was appalling) They made a HUGE Deal out of HALLOWEEN. They took half the day having parties, parades around the school and grounds, costume contests. I was shocked. Yet for CHRISTMAS they didn't do ANY CELEBRATING. No parties, nothing. They had some St. Nicholas day where they put there shoes in the hall and got a Candy cane, not even a celebration there. I believe Christmas should have been priority, Jesus's Birthday, very important. I guess it wasn't important to them. Not getting invited. Well, I learned some time ago that our very imperfect world, has alot of imperfect people. Whatever the reason, I agree that you shouldn't confront. Better to tske your daughter out on that day and do some spoiling. Make it a "girls day out". Have a great bonding day and she'll be happy. Or as the other ladies suggested, do a party at your home. Or have her invite a few friends for Pizza and a sleepover. I understand the hurt you feel. Whenever my son was excluded or nbot trested right, I always wanted to make it better. So we had lots of fun days out at a good movie or a dinner and Barnes and Noble trip. Whatever gets you through the time. Have an awesome day everyone! May God Bless you all.

PAMELA R 11/03/2012 06:37:09

It is so easy to place the blame on someone else. When I get frustrated with how things get so 'out of order' in the home, I want to point out what everyone else is doing or not doing, instead of looking at what I'm doidn or not doing. It makes me think about the verse, 'Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone." Thanks for helping me to remember to first focus on what I need to be doing. As far as 'not being invited'. I just had a similar thing happen with my daughter at co-op. She was in a class with 2 girls whom she seemed to be getting a long with fine. They were enjoying spending time together. the following week another girl was there, and the two girls seemed to 'group' with her and then they were ignoring my daughter. It hurt her. My daughter is one who will be friends with anybody. I am trying to teach her to include others and not have 'cliques'. So, when this happened, I wasn't happy. How could they act like this, when the week before they were friends with my daughter. I actually thought about talking to their mothers about what was happening. I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't. The last week of co-op, they were being friendly again, and yesterday my daughter got a letter in the mail from one of them. She said she wanted to have my daughter over to her house sometime. My daughter is eating this up. If I would have talked to the mom's, it may have turned out differently. I just need to keep reminding my daughter that, no matter how she gets treated, to continue to be kind. She understands the Golden Rule. Hopefully she will constantly live it.

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