Blame is so pervasive in our society. How true it is that we are quick to complain and then blame. How often have you done both these things? Have you noticed that when something goes wrong, we immediately try to figure out who we can blame. This happens in both our personal lives and our community life. It happens all the time. A tremendous amount of energy is expended every day on the blame game.
You leave home late and on the road get stuck behind a car which is broken down. Arriving at your meeting, you blame the driver of that vehicle for your being late. You have a report due, but a colleague calls with a question, and you postpone your work. When your boss asks why the report isn’t done, you tell him that an interruption threw you off schedule. When things go wrong, when you go wrong, do you try to place the blame somewhere other than on yourself? An up-to-date revision of an old saying might state, “It matters not whether you win or lose, but where you place the blame”
The habit of blaming inevitably leads to resentment, anger, and judgment.
A daughter is sure that if her mother had been more assertive, she would have better luck in her own relationships. A son tells his father that if he hadn’t put so much pressure on him to succeed, he would have had a much happier life. Or partners blame the other for any money problems. Doctors are blamed for not curing physical ailments .. . Social problems are the fault of the schools, the corporations, and the government. And then God is blamed for natural disasters.
If I’m guilty, what can I do to stop the blame game?
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your actions and reactions; for your thoughts, feelings, and words. This applies to the blamer and the blamee. Avoid blaming – focus on how to make improvements. Blaming is almost never associated with making improvements in a relationship.
TAKE OWNERSHIP of your feelings. This also goes for the blamer and blamee. For the blamer, you are in control of your emotions and reactions to others. You have a choice regarding how you respond. Blaming also puts the blamer in the victim role as they are accusing others of controlling their lives and giving their power away. Rather than focusing on the negative with a blame, try to move to the positive and look a solution which is mutually beneficial. For the blamee, you also have a choice not to take ownership of someone else’s negative stuff. If you choose to stay in this relationship, it’s your responsibility to co-create a healthy environment but that doesn’t mean that you are responsible for their happiness or should be blamed for their unhappiness.
COMMUNICATE with openness and with honesty. If you are blamed, discuss with your partner how you feel about being blamed, rather than point your finger back at them and blame them for blaming you! Using “I” statements and describing how you feel, will go a long way to forging an emotionally supportive and satisfying relationship. Bring compassion into all of your encounters. Realize that others, like yourself, make mistakes all the time. Don’t get into making harsh judgements. It may be necessary to call someone to account for what they have done, but even this can be done with compassion and kindness. Blame accentuates the failings of others, whereas compassion sees mistakes as a natural part of life and as things that can be corrected.
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.” It’s a good statement.
What does God say about this idea of blaming others instead of taking responsibilities? The very first example is in Genesis 3, God asks Adam, “How did you know you were naked? Did you eat of the fruit of the tree that I told you not to?” Adam says, “that woman you gave me – she gave me of the fruit and told me to eat.” The woman says, “The snake told me it would be OK to eat, and that you told me not to eat of the tree because you don’t want anyone to know as much as you do.” The man blames the woman; the woman blames the snake; and since time began we have played the “blame game.” Adam and Eve knew the rules, for God had said to them “you may eat any fruit of the garden except fruit from the tree of life, for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die” (Genesis 2:16-17). It was quite clear what the rules were. They did have a choice.
Fast forward into the New Testament, and we consider how Jesus handled the blame game. He knew what it was like to be unjustly attacked, yet he refused to play the blame game. When a woman was about to be stoned by her community for committing adultery, he asked those who were without sin to cast the first stone. In one of his most famous teachings, he suggested that we take the log out of our own eye before complaining about the spec in another’s eye. Instead of emphasizing others’ faults, Jesus emphasized their goodness. He was critical of those who tried to build themselves up by tearing others down.
I think we must have A HUMBLE heart. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. “