Blame Game

My friend was upset.

“Why is it so hard for people to just admit they were wrong?”

He was venting over a recent situation in his consulting business. Someone had scheduled an appointment with him, several appointments actually, and no-showed every time. For him, as for everyone in business, a no-show costs double. The lost opportunity of the missed appointment and the lost opportunity to schedule another customer in that time slot.

“What galls me”, said my friend, “was their flimsy attempt to place their irresponsibility on me. They obviously don’t care that they stole my time.”

What is it in us that makes us loathe to take responsibility for our actions?

It is our inherent nature since the fall of man to blame someone else for our sins. Adam blamed God and Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. And as the old joke goes, the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Years ago I was entertaining some friends in my home. Their 4-year old son was playing with a stuffed animal he had brought with him, tossing it high into the air then trying to catch it on the way down. His parents noticed that it was flying dangerously close to the ceiling fan which, being the dead of summer, was spinning on high. They told him to stop. He ignored their warning and a couple throws later Mr. Bunny was G-force fan bladed into the wall.

I looked to the kid to see what his reaction would be. I expected sorrow and remorse for ignoring his parents’ caution. But instead he stuck out his jaw, clenched his teeth and with waving accusatory finger yelled, “Bad fan! That’s a bad, bad fan!”

In our current politically correct Western culture, we’ve done everything we can to change God’s black and white to shades of gray. Gray is softer on our conscience. It’s not stealing anymore. It’s “misappropriation of funds”. As if the money was simply placed into the wrong drawer and we forgot where we put it. It’s not a terrorist attack anymore. It’s a “human caused disaster”. Which, if you follow that logic, means a farmer whose barn burns down because someone forgot to put out a cigarette is on the same moral level as hijackers who fly planes into buildings. Also popular among the methods of attempting to avoid taking responsibility for our failures is to give them a psychological name and attach the word “syndrome” to the end of it. Because if it’s a sickness, then we’re not responsible.

Yet when we’re ready to get real with ourselves, we discover the most important reason for taking responsibility for our sins. Taking responsibility is the only way to fully experience the grace and forgiveness of God. Jesus didn’t give His life for us because we were sick. Jesus gave His life for us because we were dead. Dead in our sins. Or as Paul put it, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23)

We are never more liberated than when our true confession meets God’s grace.

In our dealings with ourself and others this week, let’s stop blaming the fan.

And remember who tossed the bunny.

“When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

– 1 John 1:9

Todd A. Thompson – April 26, 2009

Leave a Reply