It started with the first family. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. And of course the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on. The problem, of course, was not the apple in the tree; it was the pair on the ground.
Our family played the blame game. Our firstborn, Angela, was an only child for the first five years of her life, so we always knew who did it — she did. Then the second came along, and of course Angela passed it on to Kasey, who was always to blame because she couldn’t talk. Then Kasey passed it on to Breanne, who was always guilty because she couldn’t defend herself. When they could all talk, they claimed they didn’t know who did it. Then they said the gremlins did it.
Kids have a hard time taking responsibility. When a kid comes home late, he never says he stopped at Bobby’s, started playing, and just forgot to come home. Instead, he claims he had to stop and help some elderly lady cross the street. It’s always something noble.
How many times have you heard a child tell the truth about why his homework isn’t done? You never hear, “I didn’t get it done because I’m lazy,” or “I watched too much television.” Yeah, right! They come up with things like “I was running a fever of almost 105 degrees and could hardly raise my head up.” Clubhouse Magazine had a contest that asked kids to send in the best excuse they’d ever given for not doing their homework. One boy said, “I went on a hot air balloon ride, and we were going to crash because there was too much weight in the basket. I threw my homework out, and it saved our lives.”
Unfortunately, the blame game continues into adulthood. During most of my counseling sessions, people would try to explain their behavior. I asked, “Why did you act that way?” They responded, “I lost my head.” I said, “Wow, where did you get that replacement? It fits so well.” Or they said, “I was just beside myself.” I’d ask, “Could you do that for me?” Another explanation was, “I lost my temper.” I told them, “You mean you found your temper.” They also claimed, “All my problems are caused by someone else.” I eventually learned to say, “I don’t counsel people who aren’t here. It keeps me sane.”
Of course, when I was inexperienced, I empathized and got involved. One wife told me her husband was awful, called her names, and locked her in the basement. I said, “He locked you in the basement? What a jerk.” He was scheduled to come in the next day, and that night I thought he must be a gorilla. Then a nice guy showed up, clothed, and in his right mind and told me the other side of the story — what his wife had said and what she had done. No wonder he locked her in the basement!
I discovered that everyone has a side. I heard his side and her side, the kid’s side, the parent’s side and even told my side a time or two. Lately, even computers have a side. What really matters is God’s side. I would like to tell you His story. His story is that we’ve been redeemed and we can re-dream, no matter what the circumstances. Since we live in a fallen world, our image of God has been defaced but not erased. No matter what has been done to us, it can’t defeat us unless we allow it to. With God’s power, we can climb on the rocks thrown at us.
Whatever the problem, shortcoming, mistake, excuse, disaster or weakness, we can always play the blame game and find a gremlin to pin it on. But it doesn’t matter if you did it, they did it, or the computer did it. The only thing that matters is how you respond to it.
When people and situations have power over you, you blame, shame, call people names, and remain the same. You blame people, pity yourself, and end up miserable. When you realize that God has power over situations and people, you thank God and pity people.
God gives us many gifts, but one of the most powerful is response-ability. This is the ability to respond in a way that is good for us. No one can change the past, but you can begin now to take responsibility for your future.