PLAYING THE BLAME GAME
The “blame game” is as old as the human race. It was Adam’s ploy when he tried to wriggle out of the responsibility of what he had done. More heinous was the fact that he blamed God for giving him a wife! “The woman you gave me,” he declared, “she is to blame.” How treacherous was that?
Humanity had been playing the blame game ever since and the results are tragic. Our mental institutions, psychiatrists’ offices, counselling rooms and pastors’ studies are packed with people seeking help for their psychological, mental and spiritual maladies because they believe that it is someone else’s fault that they are in their pit of misery.
I do not deny that people experience all kinds of bad things, especially in early childhood when they are vulnerable and their opinions about themselves, other people and God are being formed. Without the love, acceptance and wise counsel of parents and other adults of significance to them, they will develop feelings of rejection, abandonment, worthlessness and hopelessness.
Unfortunately, the enemy of our souls makes the most mileage out of this kind of scenario to lure people into self-destruction. Addictions and self-destructive behaviour patterns often leading to crime, take many a young person down the road to ruin because they believe they are worth nothing and punish others for their emotional pain. The family devastation is passed down from one generation to the next, often escalating in the degree of violence and tearing human society apart in the process. Whole communities became prey to people who have chosen the path of evil to deal with their own issues.
God gave the first pair the priceless gift of choice and, even after Adam declared independence, God did not withdraw His gift. The privilege of making our own decisions and choices is part of the very fabric of human life. If we were not free to choose, there would be no possibility that we could be restored to fellowship and favour with God. We would be puppets and robots in God’s hands and it would be impossible for us to love Him freely.
God respects the gift He gave us to the extent that He honours our decision to destroy ourselves by refusing to obey Him and follow His way. A wealthy young man came to Jesus with a question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He wanted the assurance of eternal life on his terms, just one magnificent act or deed and then he could carry on living just as he had always done because his ticket to eternal life is assured.
Jesus told him the truth. “It doesn’t work that way. Eternal life is not a ticket to carry that will admit you to heaven but a way of life that unfolds as you walk, one moment at a time, one choice, one decision at a time. It starts with the decision to put aside everything that hinders you from following me. That means that you must get rid of your money because you will serve what you love. Your money stands between you and me. It must go – otherwise you cannot be my disciple.”
The young man chose his money and Jesus let him go.
If we choose to follow Jesus, to live with Him, learn from Him and walk with Him towards the Father, of necessity it means that we take responsibility for our choices rather than find someone or something else to blame when we take a wrong turn. For the many thousands who are emotional and mental cripples who make others responsible for their self-destruction, there are the few who have had the courage to make the kind of choices that have taken them up instead of down.
It does not matter who we are, what we have experienced in life or how bad we feel about ourselves, the first step out of the swamp is to acknowledge that everything we do, we do because we choose to do it. The first drink, the first cigarette, the first drug you uses, the first casual sexual encounter, the first criminal act was your choice. You did not have to do any of these things you chose to do them because you believed the devil’s lies. You knew in your heart that none of these choices would fix your problem. They would only compound it.
What about those who believe and follow Jesus. We are just as vulnerable to temptation an often fall prey to a subtle suggestion from our enemy before we stop and think. We know that we need to confess our sin. The problem is that we tend to confess because we have been found out, because our conscience trouble us until we admit that we have said or done wrong. True confession should not stop there. We can still hide behind someone or something else for our sin.
God wants us to reach the place that we take full responsibility for what we have done. The whole point of confession is much more than apologising for being found out. Confession, – homologeo in Greek, means that I am in complete agreement with God for His verdict on the matter, not so that He can punish me but that He can include what I have done in His forgiveness bought by the blood of His Son. When we come clean with God, He wipes the slate clean and declares us “Not guilty.”
It’s no wonder there are as many emotional cripples in the church as there are in the world. We are waiting to be “delivered” from our issues when we do not need someone to rescue us. Jesus has already rescued us. All He wants from us is the honest admission that we chose to believe the lies about ourselves and God, that we are worthless, useless, hopeless or unlovable and that God hates us, doesn’t care, isn’t interested or whatever other lies we believe.
When we agree with God that He is right and we are wrong, He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And, guess what, we are free! Playing the blame game is stupid, futile and a dead end. Come clean with God. You’ll enjoy His peace to the fullest measure.