The newspaper article was quite brief, but with an interesting incident, and somewhat amusing I thought. An employee was fired from his work because he was constantly late for work. His boss had had enough. But the former employee defended himself: “You can’t fire me. I’ve got CLS”. What do you mean? “Well, I’ve got Chronic Lateness Syndrome,” he replied. No, it’s not a joke—it actually happened.
When are we going to take responsibility for our own actions, and stop blaming others for what we do? It’s an intriguing question that I want to look at today. We need to take responsibility for the choices we make. Blaming—we’ve all done it. Something happens and it’s someone else’s fault, not ours. We end up having an argument and, of course, they started it, not us.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
We are right, they are wrong. Why don’t they see it the way we do? We try to buy that nice flat screen TV set and we blame the credit card company for reaching the limit of our card. We blame our boss, our spouse, our parents, the government, but never ourselves. Our misery is always someone else’s fault. Wayne Dyer writes:
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you…You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him; you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.
In an article in Reader’s Digest almost 20 years ago entitled “It’s Not My Fault” (October 1991, p. 11), Pete Hamill coins a word called ‘victimism’. Victimism is what happens when we blame other people for our problems. Here’s the deal. If we persist in blaming, then we won’t take responsibility and then ultimately we won’t be healed. Don’t play the blame game; own it by name and avoid the shame. The blame game cuts across all ages. You can’t just blame the youth:
We read in the paper and hear on the air
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere.
We sigh and say, as we notice the trend,
“This young generation, where will it end?”
Delinquent teenagers; oh how we condemn
The sins of the nation and blame it on them.
By the laws of the blameless, the Saviour made known;
Who is among us to cast the first stone?
For in so many cases, it’s sad but it’s true,
The title ‘delinquent’ fits older folks too!
(From the song “Don’t blame it on the children”, sung by Sammy Davis Jr)
Blaming Can Ruin a Marriage
If you’re married and you’re playing the blame game, your marriage will not get better. As one husband writes:
After six months of marriage, I thought I had married the wrong person, however as I pursued a better relationship with my wife, I was amazed to see that I was the primary source of irritation to the marriage. The fact is, each person in a marital relationship holds a great deal of power to put a halt to much of the conflict that is in their marriage. The ones that ‘get it’ are the ones that stop playing the blame game, and take that same energy and work on their own stuff.
I read about how a blame game took place in a coffee shop when a husband and wife were there with their little boy. When he started to pick his nose, the mother looked at the father and said with a sneer, Who taught him to pick his nose in public? To which the husband said, You know what happens when we leave him with your parents.
There’s a great story in the New Testament, in John chapter five, that brings this to the surface. It’s when Jesus had come to Jerusalem, during one of its yearly feasts, and thousands of pilgrims had come from all over. Jesus saw a guy there, someone who had been lame and wasn’t able to be healed. People would get into the water and the first person who’d get in would be healed of his diseases. I’ll discuss more on this story in Part 2.
(Read Are You Still Blaming Others? – Part 2)