Whose fault is it anyway? Apportioning blame is almost as natural as breathing for many people. Anything to ensure that whatever happens, my good reputation will remain intact.
I’m sitting at my desk, reflecting on something I heard at a recent Christian conference. In 1 Corinthians 11:31 it says: “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”
A natural reaction of all human beings in any given situation is to judge or blame the others. We can trace this right back to Adam’s reaction when God asked him what he had done. He not only blamed Eve for giving him the fruit, he also indirectly blamed God. (“The woman whom You gave to be with me …” Genesis 3:12.)
My “good” reputation
Looking back, I can blush with shame when I think of all the times I’ve done the same thing. In fact, I have spent far too much time in my life defending myself from any blame and pushing as much as possible onto the others. It’s almost like it’s involuntary. Expressions seem to just slip out by themselves: “It wasn’t my fault! She was actually the one who was responsible for that… To tell the truth, I was against the idea from the start …”
Why am I like that? I note that I’m never tempted to deny my involvement in something that turns out to be successful. What do I hope to gain by this deflection of responsibility when things don’t go perfectly? There’s only one answer. As a person, I have been born with a flesh that is so proud that it cannot bear to be at fault in the eyes of other people. So any time it appears that my good reputation is threatened, the lusts in my flesh express themselves, tempting me to lie, backstab and blame others.
Judging myself and admitting
What is the solution? Judging myself? It sounds quite negative, in a way. But if I’m the kind of person that can never admit that I’m wrong, or could have done something better, it can be really difficult for others to be around me. I don’t want to be like that! If I want to change for the better though, I will have to do something about it—it’s not going to happen on its own.
So if I do judge myself and admit my flaws, what then? As I deny those tendencies to blame the others that I find within me, I will start to see more of the sin that dwells in my own flesh. All the unrest I feel in any situation always comes from my own lusts, and never on the actions of others. I find there is enough in my own nature to be dealt with, without having to blame anyone else!
Not only will this make me more gentle and kind towards people around me, but God also sees this. I know that He “will render to each one according to his deeds:’ eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour and immortality.” Romans 2:6-7.