"An old blind woman lives on the town's outskirts. Several children decide to fool her. One of them says he has a bird in his hand and asks her to tell him if it is alive or dead. This woman is silent for a long time. Finally, she announces, "I don't know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands."
What is the tale trying to teach? Responsibility. See, the woman rightly pointed out that the issue is not her determining the death or life of the bird. The children are the ones holding the bird, not her. They need to determine if it is alive or dead. They are the ones who have it.
Since sin has entered the world, we have a natural tendency to "pass the buck." We don't want to accept responsibility. If Adam was with Eve in the Garden of Eden, why did he passively allow Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Why didn't he tell the serpent to "bug off"? Since he knew God's command, and if he was there, why didn't he take responsibility and get involved? Not only that, after they had eaten the fruit, God comes and asks Adam, "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" What did Adam say? "The woman you put here with me- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Thus, the blame game began with the very first sin. It has never stopped being played either.
Just think of the news! Politicians are blaming each other for the government mess. "Occupy Wall Street" is protesting Wall Street for their greed. The Penn State fiasco is all about "passing the buck." The NBA players criticize the owners, and vice versa for the lockout. Of course, it is easy to take pot shots at the people in the news, but what about the person in the mirror? (I am not referring to your spouse.) Have you ever said, "I didn't do anything wrong." "It was him, not me." "It's not my fault." "If he or she wouldn't have done that...."?
I used to hear all those comments and more when I worked at a emergency shelter for teenagers. But one day one of the boys surprised me. One of the boys from the unit was going to be taken to court. In this case, they put leg irons and handcuffs on that person in the office. Because the office has a glass wall, the boys from the unit saw what was happening. One boy started to laugh at the boy who was being cuffed so that the cuffed boy could see him. I essentially told the boy to knock it off and to turn around. Well, he stormed off to his room for being corrected. When it was almost time for breakfast, he came up to me and asked forgiveness for blowing up. Wow! That floored me. Most teenagers, most people for all that matters, don't take responsibility for their actions, but this teen confessed.
The opposite of blame is confession. Confession is all about taking responsibility before God and others for the consequences of one's own decisions. Confession says, "I made the choice, so I take responsibility for the results." Or confession admits, "I am the one responsible to make the choice, and I am willing to deal with the consequences." There is forgiveness and freedom with confession and taking responsibility; there is bitterness and slavery for those who don't. Check out Psalm 32:3-5 and 1 John 1:8-10 for the power and freedom of confession.)
If the bird is in our hands, why are we looking for a blind person to make the decision or to suffer the consequences for our decision?