End the Blame Cycle

Has anyone else noticed how quick our reflexes are when it comes to blaming others?  Even as we sense that we're about to be blamed for something, a survival instinct seems to kick in as we prepare to deflect blame, which often means redirecting toward someone else.  Recently at work, someone stated unashamedly that, "someone has to be thrown under the bus."  Even in such a "dog eat dog" environment, that statement caught me off guard.  It's not so much that it doesn't happen; it's just not often stated that explicitly.

Think back to our childhood when we've been caught doing wrong.  "He started it!"  (I've never quite understood the reasoning behind that justification.)  If there's any solace, it's in knowing that we've reacted this way since the very beginning of Creation.  In Genesis 3:12, when confronted by God, Adam's defense was, "She made me!"  And, in case that wasn't a strong enough defense, "And You, God, gave her to me!"  Or Aaron, when confronted by Moses after making the golden calf, answers, "You know how these people can be....And besides, who knew where you were?"  (Ex 32:22)

As Christians, this is one of the areas where we're called to be different.  Here are a few things to considering as we fight the instinct to blame another:
  1. Reflect God's Mercy: When the finger pointing is obvious and directed at you, that's a perfect opportunity to reflect God's mercy.  Everyone watching expects you to either fight back or blame someone else.  Rather, we're called to, "maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears."  (1Pe 2:12)
  2. Avoid Relativism: Subconsciously, when we blame someone else, we're playing with the scales of justice.  Early in our youth, we develop the mistaken idea that those who started "it" or those who did worse are the ones who should be blamed.  That thought process implies that those who "only respond" or have less culpability shouldn't need to answer at all.  Christians, remember that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Rom 3:23)  As a result, we're not better or worse than the next person.
  3. Trust in the Lord: Trials tend to magnify our true character.  Do we respond to accusations by shifting blame for our own preservation?  Or do we, "Trust in the LORD and do what is right!"  (Psalm 37:3) (Psalm 37 offers wonderful insight on how the godly ought to wait patiently on the Lord.)
  4. Take Responsibility: Blaming often turns into a vicious cycle.  Thankfully, one person accepting responsibility for their contribution can put an end to the chain reaction.
In the end, though we may be tempted to the immediate gratification from blaming, we're called, "In speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, [to] show yourself an example of those who believe."  (1 Ti 4:12)

2 comments:

  1. Great thoughts, Rick! I wonder how often we do this within the context of our marriages... blame! Too often, I'm afraid, and I stand guilty as charged. I find I am much more susceptible to blame when I haven't given myself fully to the Lord that day, starting out by worshiping Him. Oh, but the last point - when I take responsibility and confess first to God, I then experience His grace! What joy!

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    1. I, wholeheartedly, agree. Our instinct to blame is so primal that we have to retrain our reflexes by having God at the forefront of our thoughts. How wonderful would it be if our first instinct, our pre-conscious reaction is to honor God?

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