Pablo Picasso stayed in Paris despite the Nazi invasion of 1940. German officers visited the controversial artist’s studio often. The story is told that on one occasion, one of the Germans showed Picasso a postcard of his painting; “Guernica“. This piece portrayed Picasso’s sorrow over the Luftwaffe’s bombing of this Basque town. The officer asked; “Did you do this?”. To which Picasso replied; “No. You did!”.
Whether this discourse actually took place or not, Picasso’s statement reveals the truth. The Germans had indeed been responsible for the bombing of the town. Picasso was also responsible; but only for revealing the fact.
While thinking about this, I recognized a spiritual parallel. There are times in our lives when things go horribly wrong. We can feel like we are caught in the midst of the chaos of a Picasso painting (or perhaps worse, like a Pollack!). Frantically, we look around, pointing fingers. Eventually, we may even point at God asking, accusingly; “Did You do this?”. The reply we receive most often from God is; “No. You did.”.
As hard as it is to admit, that response is True. It isn’t mean spirited. It isn’t God’s emotional reaction to our frustrated accusations. It’s simply a statement of Truth. We are sinners living in a fallen world. Sin is the result of our free choice in rebelling against God’s perfect plan. Looking at Genesis 3, we see the fall of man. Countless times while reading this passage, I’ve wondered; “Why didn’t Adam & Eve turn and ask God’s counsel when confronted with Satan’s conflicting questions?”. Further pondering makes me ask; “Why, on so many similar occasions, haven’t I?”. The answer? We chose not to. When we are responsible – God is responsible for revealing the fact.
There are times when we, in all honesty, state; “It’s not my fault!”. Hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes are all called “acts of God”, by insurance companies. (They never seem to credit God with the daily acts of delivering us from the earth’s turmoil!) These forces of nature can destroy lives. But, they are not acts of God. They are the result of mankind’s sin affecting / infecting the world which God had made. Are we at fault when disaster strikes in this form? No. But, neither is God.
God, is Perfect and Pure in His love for us, the pinnacle of His Creation. God is not the angry, petulant puppet master as some unbelievers paint Him. Neither is He the accuser of our misdeeds, or the cause of our misfortunes. That title belongs to the enemy of our souls; Satan. He is the one who comes before God’s throne, points at me and says; “Do You see what he did?!”. Quite often, he’s right in this assessment. (If you want further proof that this is what Satan does, read Job 1!) But, then Jesus steps before the Throne, points at the nail marks in His hands and feet and says; “Do You see what I did?! I paid for far more than he can ever be accused of doing. Guilty? Yes. Forgiven? Yes!”.
As free as God’s Gift of Forgiveness and Salvation is, it is based upon one contingency; we need to accept it. When conviction of our sins falls upon us, we must take responsibility for them. This requires admission of guilt and an honest desire to repent and turn from anything which offends a Holy God. Then, instead of living in guilt, we accept His forgiveness. It is at that point that the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell with us. And if we allow Him to do so, the Holy Spirit will push all of the unwholesome old nature out of us – filling us with His Presence. We will begin to experience new desires as He changes us into the person we were intended to be. People will notice the changes. Some will even congratulate us and ask; “Did you do this?”. Then we can in all honesty point to God and say; “No. He did it!”.