Over the past couple weeks, even months, the news media has broadcast stories where questions abound. The questions boil down to— Who's to blame for...? You can fill in the blank— the election, the Benghazi tragedy, the Hamas-Israeli conflict, and so on. After the tragedy of September 11th, a commission was set up to determine which government agency was at fault.
The blame game seems at an epidemic level in our nation, but it's not limited to us. And it's not a recent problem, nor is it cultural. It's a human problem and not going away anytime soon.
Sorting out blame, aka responsibility, is found at all levels of life and in every corner. It happens between people of all walks of life. Husbands and wives engaged in domestic discussions (aka arguments) spend a lot of time determining blame. Even within our own mind, our conscience, the blame game rages.
What drives this search to assign blame? It's quite natural to us, we inherited this trait. This isn't just shifting blame backwards, it's reality. Was is it our parents, grandparents, extended family? Well, yes and no. We do learn patterns of behavior, and develop attitudes and prejudices from our family backgrounds. But we're all just passing on what's been passed onto us.
I like to go to the beginning of the book to see how the story starts. Any good story lays ground work for the plot at the beginning, then drops breadcrumbs to follow to the end of the story, the resolve.
So, where did all this blaming start? In the garden of God, paradise. Yep, even in paradise, problems exist. But it didn't start out that way. God set man and woman, the first ones, in a place of earthly perfection, but with one caveat. They could eat from any tree in the garden except for one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:8-9, 15-17). Of course, because of human free will, the inevitable took place—the man and woman ate of the tree. When they ate the blame game began (Gen 3:1-13).
Before jumping to conclusions to assign blame keep in mind that God warned the man first (Gen 2:16, 17). God asked the man about their problem (feeling naked), not the woman who ate from the tree first (Gen 3:9-11).
Here's the point—
The blame game comes naturally to us. We're programmed for it. But why do we continue it even when it resolves nothing? Good question! First of all, it's one of the ways we deal with guilt by putting it off onto others. As if we're not responsible, just innocent bystanders, victims.
It's also a way to justify ourselves as better than others. If I can pin blame on someone else to appear innocent, then I can convince myself and maybe a few others I'm better than all that. It's called self-justification. A lot of this goes on in our heads by comparing ourselves to others.
But the one element of blame we often miss is the ultimate focus of blaming others. It points back to God. Here's the simple view of it—
The man answered, “That woman, the one you gave me, gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12 GW)
Do you see it? "God, it's your fault. You created the woman and she gave it to me."
When things go wrong in our life, or in the world (in our estimation)— we lay the responsibility at God's feet. Here's the classic example— "If God is a God of love, why is there so much evil in the world?" The basic problem with this is the limited perspective we (humanity) have of life, this world, God, ad infinitum.
When you find yourself playing the blame game, ask yourself some honest questions.
Why is it so important to me to assign blame?
What's my part in all of this? What is my responsibility?
How am I finding fault with God?
How different life is when we stop blaming and forgive, even as God forgives us. God alone is faithful and blameless. He alone resolved blame, guilt, selfishness, and wrong long ago.
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin so that we might receive God’s approval through him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 GW)