Monday, January 30, 2012

Stop Pointing the Finger

By now you’ve all heard about the infamous “finger wagging” encounter between President Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Regardless of why it happened, or “who started it,” it was arguably improper for Brewer to point her finger in the President’s face. 

“Pointing the finger” is an action of blaming, reprimanding, or warning, and worse, a gesture of contempt.  Who can forget how President Clinton used it to scold his accusers.  And recently,  during a Republican debate, Rick Perry pointed condescendingly at Ron Paul. 

Finger pointing is as old as Adam who pointed the finger at Eve who pointed the finger at the serpent.  It is natural to want to "wag your finger" to point out someone else's error, to justify yourself.  Or, to shift the blame when you feel threatened.  

"Finger pointing" is soundly condemned by God (Is. 58:9) because of what it is. But He promises if we stop pointing at others, and instead, ask Him to point out our faults, He will bring our relationships to the point of restoration. (Is 58:9-12).  Then, instead of pointing at people, we can point people to God, which is really the point of our salvation, isn't it!


  1. Greg,

    Your article reminds me of two particular encounters Jesus was recorded to have had with people who were used to having the finger pointed at them. One of them could only hear the accusations--the man blind from birth in John 9, and the other who nearly lost her life to her accusers in the early verses of John 8--the woman caught in adultery.

    For the blind man it was Jesus' own disciples who indirectly accused the man of sinning before he was born, and that his blindness was God having cursed him as a result. Jesus dismissed their implicating for his own mess and redirected their response to the man's blindness by telling them his plight should elicit a response of "what are we (Jesus and his disciples) going to do about this now?" instead.

    The other instance was the infamous scene where the accused adulteress was thrown down at Jesus' feet for Him to make some definitive evaluation as to her sin. He also redirected the self-appointed "judge/jury and executioners to their own guilt with a penetrating question and gesture. Their response was to shut their mouths and leave the area. Jesus' final question to the woman was "Woman, where are your accusers (now)?" She stated the obvious that they were gone and then He graciously assured her that He certainly was not going to point His finger at her but that this close call should end up breaking her free to change her ways to reflect His (God's) forgiveness.

    The Body of Christ can afford to have Jesus' reactions to these two extended to a lot more situations and individuals than we do. God grant us the supernatural wisdom to bring His life, love, and light into people's darkness much more than we presently do!


  2. It's funny how different cultures are! People in Spain would not make a big deal out of poining the finger at someone, it doesn't have such a bad connotation, maybe it is because we are more expressive when it comes to express the way we think or feel. :)

  3. Yes, Patricia, that is interesting. In some cultures it's offensive to point your foot toward someone (Afghaanistan)!! :)

    Bu since it's in the Bible, it must have been offensive in the Hebrew culture!! of course the real issue is the 'heart' one!

  4. Stan, what a great insightful message. You are right, finger-pointing is so phraisaical and, unfrotunately, still predominant among so-called Christians. And yes, such attitudes keep us in the dark!

  5. Reminds me to not "point fingers" when I say that someone is "pointing the finger" at me.


  6. Stan,

    I love your insight in this. Like the adultress woman, I too, have reflected on God's forgiveness and let the close call of being stoned to set me free.