When we realise that we have suddenly had a mortal-moment and actually done something wrong, we tend to pass the buck to someone or something else.
Reference: v.19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. (NIV Bible)
Explore: Children learn at a very young age that you don't want to take the blame for anything! If they discover that they have done something wrong then they are very quick to look to someone else to point the finger at.
In this passage we see that the owners of a slave girl have lost their income because of Paul's actions. They decide very quickly – maybe out of fear of Paul – that they are not going to deal with this on their own. It seems the idea of sitting down with Paul and Silas and explaining their situation does not even enter their heads. Instead, they drag them straight to the authorities and let those in power deal with their personal problems.
Application: No one likes to look like the bad-guy. When we realise that we have suddenly had a mortal-moment and actually done something wrong, we tend to pass the buck to someone or something else. Here the slave owners have been abusing a child to make money. When their income is suddenly stopped, they don't point the finger at themselves for their abuses but point the finger at Paul for disrupting the peace.
If everyone was to look honestly into their lives we would see ourselves pointing the finger at others too. Noone wants to look bad or to be seen as in the wrong. However, this passage shows us the damage we can do to somone else if we are not willing to take the blame for our own actions. People may not be flogged and imprisoned in this country but someone's reputation can certainly take a beating. Can we be brave enough to admit that we are not perfect and have failings? While trying our best to live a Christ-like life we must be aware that we will stuff up along the way. God doesn't call us to be perfect, that's why He went to such lengths to save us from our sin.
Prayer: Lord, so often it seems easier to let someone else carry the burden of our mistakes. Help us to be brave enough to take responsibility for our own actions and to be guided by your wisdom in all we do. Amen.
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.