I was just thinking…

Published on Feb 22nd, 2018 by wpd-office | 0

For about two years now, a person has been coming to our church who will remain unnamed. However, this person is an alcoholic, and knows it.  Very often, this person will remark that other people seem able to stop their drinking, but he cannot seem to do so.  Yet, when questioned, this person will always blame someone else.  The drinking is the fault of people who buy beer for the person.  The drinking is the fault of the person’s family who does not come to aid the person.  The drinking is the fault of the woman with whom this person lives–she is always laying blame and pointing out fault.  The drinking is the fault of other people who do not pay this person, do not respect this person, do not give this person jobs to do, or do not speak to this person.  Always, always, the blame lies somewhere besides the inner being of this person who cannot make a decision as to how that person’s own life will be lived.

As I contemplated the outlook for this person, I began to notice how many times all of us would like to blame someone else for any and all problems we have.

“It is his fault–he bad mouthed me.”
“It is her fault–she is telling lies about me.”
“It is their fault–they do not understand me.”
“It is my family’s fault–they never loved me or they abused me or they called me names or they kicked me out of the house.”
“It is my school’s fault–they never helped me with the work I should have been doing.”
“It is my pastor’s fault–he or she preached nonsense to me and fouled up my whole life.”
“It is her fault for being a victim of rape–she should not have worn such suggestive clothing.”
“It is his fault he was stabbed–he should not have been running around with such a dangerous crowd.”
“It is your fault that you did not get the right information and now everything is messed up.”
“It is your fault that  . . .”

And you can fill in all sorts of other words. Blame is so very, very easy to assign, and I ask you how often it really works to change anything–our behaviors, our outlook, our very being.  Always the words begin with the word “fault.”  With the word “fault” comes a pointed finger.  Sometimes blame is even mistaken for accountability.  Therefore, I ask you, “How many times did Jesus point at someone with blame?”  Yes, I know he drove the moneychangers from the temple, but what he said to them was simply to stop doing what they were doing because they were desecrating the temple.  The decision to stop was not because he blamed them but because they were persuaded in their own hearts that what they had been doing was wrong. So much of our discourse in this culture today is one of blaming, and my heart hurts for the blame that is laid at the feet of other people.  I am aware that, often, blame is used to keep from acknowledging that we, too, have a part in the problem, and that we, too, do not want to do the work that is called for to change our own lives.

I would encourage us to look deeply within ourselves to see what problems could be solved as we change our own lives.  I would encourage us, rather than blaming, to sit with persons and explore the problems of their lives.  I would encourage us to find a gentler, kinder way to speak to the people around us about things that could be changed, could be different, and could be solved.  For you see, blaming virtually never works.  However, by careful listening and help, we can change the world, one little bit at a time!  Maybe it does not always work, but it is far, far better than the alternative!


Grace and peace,

Sonja Griffith
District Executive Minister

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