Do you like to blame others when things go wrong? Do you wish you could blame others? That desire to assign responsibility to someone other than ourselves is a natural reaction. My kids are rock stars at it. As soon as one of them gets in trouble the immediate response is, “It’s his fault,” or “He made me do it.” We have had countless, endless, exhausting conversations about personal responsibility. I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “If you could kick the person in the pants for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” I wish my kids understood this.
Why is it so hard to say, “I made a mistake?” When I make a mistake at work there is always the temptation to divert blame. I want to do my job perfectly. The problem is I am human. I make mistakes and for some reason it is no longer okay to make a mistake. I could linger on about how society has gotten to this place-thus blaming society. Instead, I’m here to tell you the issue is pride. It is my own pride that gets in the way of me admitting my error. I’ll admit I’m in a constant battle against pride in my daily life. Honestly, as soon as I admit my error, I can move on. It becomes no big deal. As soon as I try to divert blame, guilt starts to set in, and I begin to feel crummy inside. I’m on a mission to feel as little of that as possible. The easiest and quickest way to realign my heart with God’s love and joy is to take responsibility for my actions. It has the least consequences and will build trust in relationships.
There is another kind of blame as victims. We have become really good at this, right? Because somebody else hurt me, it is their fault for everything wrong in my life. We feel justified in our blame. Andy Stanley recently tweeted, “Blame enables us to smuggle our issues into the future.” This is spot on! How do we ever let go of the pain and hurt if all we see is blame?
Blame is sneaky. It is an outward expression of what’s underneath: guilt, shame, pride and anger to name a few. For my kids it’s an effort to avoid the pain of guilt. As a victim, it has been about justifying my anger. The problem is as long as I am holding onto anger and pain there is no room for love. When God fulfills his promise in Hebrews 12:
25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words…he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed (MSG).
You see, He replaces the anger, pain, and blame with more love. Isn’t that what we all want? I want a life filled with love and joy. I want a life free of past hurts. His promise is a thorough inner house cleaning. That means we are sparkling clean with no dust, dirt or residue left behind.
In either case, blame only causes us more prolonged pain. Will you join me in turning your back on blame and turning toward the One who promises a clean restored heart?