Friday, November 15, 2019

The blame game

People often compare life to a fight or a battle, in a spiritual sense that’s true. However, maybe the real reason they say that is that they want their targets well-defined, with no ambiguity at all. They want to know precisely who their enemy is. So our human nature is often on the lookout for something to blame, or someone to direct our anger and frustration at when our environment is not as we would want it to be. Since we like things very black and white in such instances. However, in every day life our conflicts are seldom that cut and dry. We are often at a loss on what our battle is really with, and we frequently feel as we are swinging at nothing but air in our efforts to deal with them.

Manipulative people know this and are all too eager to provide a new target for you to blame your failures on. All for the benefit of their agenda, not you. This has only gotten worse in the Information Age. Allowing people to apply these tactics on a far more epic scale, your proverbial wolves in sheep's clothing.

The question is, how should the believer respond to such situations.

James 1:20 says.
for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Why should a disciple even look for something to blame and direct our anger at, if such volatile emotions inevitably only lead us astray? Your inability to control your anger often becomes your immediate problem.

Ephesians 4:26 says.
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

The implication being, we should resolve our anger quickly, not indulge it so that it lingers, giving our negative emotions more opportunity to lead us astray.

Matthew 7:3-5 says.
Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

This reminds us to focus on ourselves first when it comes to righteousness, because we have the most control over self. Instead of base our peace upon the actions of others, of which we have minimal control. Despite the logic of this, our feelings still hate to blame self. Even when we are clearly in the wrong, we want to make it everyone else's fault.

Galatians 6:1-5 says.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.

People will do you wrong on occasion, but we shouldn't let someone else's imperfection become our spiritual problem. There can be a very fine line between a proper rebuke, and just blaming, a line many cross; hence, Paul's warning. A proper rebuke seeks to help people succeed by guiding people through their burdens until they are strong enough to bear them themselves. Blaming only seeks to put people in their place, to 'stick it to them' if you will. Which isn't very Christ like or loving.

Matthew 6:14-15 says.
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Blaming is not forgiving, and by not forgiving we condemn only ourselves.

There is also an old joke that says, everyone complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about. Funny because it's true. People love to complain, but they don't love getting involved, nor do they like adjusting their attitudes about things they have no control over. I've said it before, but it deserves repeating. Are you master of your emotions or do your emotions master you? If you follow your feelings blindly, it's likely the sinful nature rules you. That is just what the one who blames is doing, recklessly reacting, instead of acting deliberately as a good disciple should. Consider that the next time you feel the urge to point a finger of blame at someone.

The visual PARABLEist

a broken person accusing another broken person.
click to enlarge