In American culture there is a tendency to blame others when things don’t turn out like we hoped they would. “It’s not my fault!” many say. People blame their parents, their teachers, the guy who cut them off in traffic, and the like. They think that blaming another for where they are today excuses them to do or be whatever they want, because,“it’s not my fault”. Some even go so far as to say, “I am the way I am because of what__________did to me.” You fill in the blank.
Genesis 3 is the earliest example of blaming in the Bible.
God comes to Adam and Eve after they have eaten the forbidden fruit with a question. “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. Neither of them accepted responsibility for what they had done.
There is a primary problem with blaming. Blaming removes the power from us to affect the outcome of our lives. Blaming makes you a victim. Blaming keeps us from seeing the truth of how we ended up where we are today. Though we are tempted to do certain things, temptation is not the issue. Yielding to it is the problem.
We are the way we are not because of what happened to us, but because of the way we responded to events. Adam was not forced to eat the forbidden fruit and neither was Eve. They chose to eat it. The serpent did not make them do it either.
Taking personal responsibility is the act of accepting the role we play in ALL areas of our lives.
Let’s say someone cuts you off in traffic and in turn, you shoot the other driver. You are arrested and taken to jail. At the first hearing, the judge asks you why you took this action. If your answer is “because he cut me off,” you have just blamed this man for your own response. His cutting you off did not produce the shooting but your response to it did.
I know that people have probably said things to you they should not have said. They have done things to you they should not have done. You probably had little or no control over many of the things that others did to you.
But you and I both have the power to choose our response.
I do not have to respond in anger. I do not have to fight back. I do not have to be bitter about it. What has happened in my life can be a springboard for helping turn me into the person God wants me to be.
Don’t reduce your life to a series of blames directed at others for what they did or did not do to you.
Accept responsibility for where you are and how you got there.