(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article, read by the author: Shifting the blame)
It has been a problem since the beginning of mankind, and I was reminded of it when reading an article in a newspaper recently.
There was a flu crisis over the winter 2017 in England, with thousands of operations cancelled because the virus resulted in a massive uptake of hospital beds by the sufferers. One might have assumed that the “leaders would lead” and find a way to solve this problem. However, the government maintained that they had “given the National Health Service more money than it has ever received in its history” to buy in more beds and staff, (so it wasn’t their fault). Then the president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine was reported as blaming the government for its “failure to prioritise the need to increase funding” for the NHS, (so it wasn’t their fault either).
When God confronted Adam about the eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed both Eve and God. “The woman you gave me, gave me the fruit …” (it wasn’t his fault). When God turned to Eve she blamed Satan, “The serpent deceived me …” (so it wasn’t her fault either). (Genesis 3:11-13)
Shifting the blame onto others and not taking responsibility result in two things:
- Our problems don’t get solved.
- We become weak and ineffective.
This is true both in the natural world and in our spiritual life.
I know this, but I still behaved exactly in the same way as Adam a few weeks ago.
A similar incident
During a small staff meeting a tutor suddenly noticed that I had made a mistake in the rota and booked her to teach two different classes on the same day. This was a massive problem since our part-time students travel many miles to our seminars and make extensive plans to cover their absences while away from home. We had no spare staff to cover the extra class, and to cancel a class was not an option. Two pairs of eyes turned to look at me while my face burned. And I said,
“But you told me it would be OK …”
We spent over an hour trying to work out how we could resolve the problem and failed. I drove home worried about the whole situation and I was angry with myself for my knee-jerk reaction to blame others for something that I was becoming increasingly aware of was my responsibility. I should have doubled checked a date, and I hadn’t.
I couldn’t sleep that night as my brain was still trying to find a solution to an impossible situation, so I had to pray. I acknowledged my fault before God and admitted I had tried to shift the blame and I asked for help to find a resolution. Then I did what I should have done in the staff meeting, I apologised to my colleague:
“I am sorry for the mess my actions have caused.”
As soon as I sent the text I came to rest, and I could sleep. When I woke in the morning a solution to the whole situation floated down from heaven into my mind. It was a complete and perfect solution, and improved upon our original plan. We did not need to cancel a class. My colleague was not teaching two different classes at once. No students had to change their plans. We did not have to find an extra tutor to cover.
When I told my colleague, she said, “How come we didn’t think of this yesterday?”
The solution had not appeared the day before because I needed to take the blame and apologise. I had to humble myself before God and admit I was in the wrong and stop trying to protect my reputation.
The truth shall make you free
We do not need to be afraid of doing the right thing. When we get ourselves into a mess we mustn’t dig ourselves in deeper to avoid the consequences. If we accept the blame for problems that are our responsibility, we gain strength of character and we cleanse out the root of sin that is still in us, even as disciples. God can’t use people who hide from the truth about themselves.
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV.
The result of this continual cleansing is that we remain close to God, and we learn how to hear and obey the Spirit in every detail of our daily lives. We become merciless against our own thoughts and feelings that go against Gods’ will and become people whom Satan fears because he knows we will not compromise the truth and have nothing of our own selves to protect.
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