The Expository Files


 The Cards You Were Dealt

If my wife would only (fill in the blank) __________, I would sure be a better husband. If my husband would just learn to __________, I would become a much better wife.

If the preacher would just __________; if the elders would agree with me about __________; if the deacons would __________; if our parents hadn’t eaten sour grapes, we wouldn’t have dental problems!

It is likely you have heard every one of these statements (excuses), except the last. What is the last example about? How would anyone conclude they had dental problems because of what their parents ate? Even in objective science and traceable genetics, there would be no correlation between your parents eating sour grapes and the condition of your teeth.

But when making excuses, when dismissing responsibility, creative justifying proverbs are invented and repeated without sound thought processes. There is this strong tendency to blame your parents, your circumstances, your history, or “the cards you were dealt.”

Truth Connection: The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right—if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:1-9 ESV)

[1] The New King James Version. 1982 (Jn 15:9–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 19.5; May 2012