By Jerry Neufeld
If someone had ever invited our family to their house to play the blame game, I’m sure we could have joined right in. We had learned and played many games with our children, however, we did not have to teach them how to play the blame game. We have Adam and Eve to thank for that! After they had sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. And so their sin nature was passed down to all mankind. (Gen. 3:12-13)
Since we were born with the sin nature, we are filled with pride, selfishness, and self- centeredness. A young child learns to blame others to get his own way; children at school will often blame others to avoid getting caught; adults may sometimes blame others to get ahead in business. Nobody is exempt. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”
- RECOGNIZE BLAMING OTHERS IS SIN. God wants us to tell the truth and not to deceive. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God will forgive us if we ask Him.
- AVOID USING EXCUSES. A good definition of an excuse is: “The skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Satan will help us to think up ‘reasons’ [excuses] because he is our enemy. He doesn’t want us to do what pleases God. Romans 8:8 says, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” and in verse 13, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” As long as we are in this earthly body, we will have this battle within us. We have a choice as to whether we will live in the flesh or in the Spirit.
- DO NOT TRY TO MAKE YOURSELF LOOK BETTER THAN OTHERS. God says in Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Luke 6:31 says, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN WORDS AND DEEDS. In training a young child, it is possible for a parent to plant the seed of blaming others without knowing it. For example, if the child trips and falls and starts crying, the parent might say, “Did that rug trip you? That naughty rug. Bad rug” Oops! The seed was just planted, and the child will soon learn that it is alright to blame someone or something else. We must teach our children that they are responsible for their own words and actions and will have to answer to God. Our children need to know that we are obeying God by teaching them to obey God’s Word. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We worked very hard at raising our children to be responsible individuals. Many times they were responsible all right — responsible for good things as well as bad things that happened! I find it interesting that as our children have grown up and now have families of their own, every time we get together we find out more things that happened when they were young. Maybe it’s because they now feel safe in telling. Mom and Dad cannot catch them or spank them now! One time I found out that I had blamed the wrong son for something that had been done many years ago. I had to apologize and, of course, they all had a good laugh.
Being in the ministry and living in the preacher’s home brought a myriad of experiences. One stands out in my mind.
A large family consisting of grandparents, a couple adult sons, and the wife and children of one of the sons, visited our church. After several weeks my husband received a phone call saying the married son had been severely burned and was being rushed to the hospital. A call was made and the family was given the phone number to call so the pastor could be contacted, if needed, as he was scheduled to be out of town for a few days.
When my husband returned, he immediately made a visit to check on their son’s condition and found that the grandfather was very angry. He was pacing back and forth, and yelling as he ordered my husband to leave immediately.
During a visit to the hospital my husband was grabbed and pushed against the wall, and had his life threatened. The family had also turned against the wife, and the only way we could comfort the wife was to meet her at the hospital secretly. The injured man was not able to get the needed oxygen exchange in his lungs to sustain his life and lived only a couple weeks.
This family had become very angry at God. But since they could not get to God, they directed their anger at the man of God. How sad that they responded in this way. We who live for God are His representatives and can expect to become the object of anger and wrath at times because of anger toward God. We need to recognize this and not take it personally.
5. WE NEED TO HUMBLE OURSELVES
Christ humbled himself and went to the cross. He wants us to humble ourselves. Philippians:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” As the song says, “I had a debt I could not pay; He paid a debt He did not owe!”
6. WE NEED TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
Be a peacemaker, not an accuser Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Be quick to accept responsibility for something even though you may not be in the wrong. Learn to quickly say “I’m sorry.”
GOD is pleased when we avoid playing The Blame Game!