Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
Blaming others is a typical human response when we are caught doing something wrong. Sometimes we blame our dysfunctional childhood, the people who mistreated or abused us, or circumstances such as poverty or unemployment for our own sinful behavior and poor choices. Blame is a convenient way to avoid taking responsibility for what we have done and facing the consequences of our actions.
In the book It's Not My Fault: The No-Excuse Plan for Overcoming Life's Obstacles, authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend say that we live in a culture of blame. The book identifies two kinds of people: "Those who take responsibility for their lives and those who don't." Those who do can accept the consequences of their actions and deal with the fallout. Through repentance, they can reconnect with God and grow in their Christian walk.
It Started in a Garden
The blame game began in the Garden of Eden and has been messing with our minds ever since. God caught Adam red-handed with delectable forbidden fruit in his hand (Genesis 2:16-17; 3). The juice was probably trickling down his chin as he quickly chomped and swallowed the evidence of his crime.
When God asked Adam if he had been eating the goodies on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -- the one tree he was not allowed to touch -- he said: “The woman you gave me had given me the fruit, and I ate it.” In other words, "Hey, you gave me this female. It’s her fault."
Eve bristled at this accusation. No way she was going to take the fall for this one. “The serpent deceived me, and I ate it,” she said. In other words, "The devil made me do it." Never mind that she has been staring at the tree with her mouth-watering since she first saw it.
God saw right through Adam and Eve’s attempts to deflect responsibility for their actions and held them accountable for disobeying His instructions. As a consequence of their sins, Adam and Eve were banned from their home in Eden and were forced to struggle to eke out a living from the land.
Womankind was cursed with painful labor pains during childbirth (thanks a lot, Eve!). Humanity has been pointing the finger at someone else ever since, just like Adam and Eve did.
When we are caught doing something wrong, blaming others is a typical human response. Sometimes we blame our dysfunctional childhood, the people who mistreated or abused us, or circumstances such as poverty or unemployment for our own sinful behavior and poor choices. Blame is a convenient way to avoid taking responsibility for what we have done and facing the consequences of our actions.
The Consequences of Blaming Others
We Are Cut Off from God
God is righteous and holy. We cannot have a relationship with Him if we refuse to acknowledge our sins. When we say that our circumstances are someone else’s fault, we cut ourselves off from God and are barred from our spiritual Eden. Accepting responsibility for our sins and repentance is an important part of the Christian walk.
We Feel Guilt and Shame
We are weighted down with guilt and shame if we do not confess sin and faults. We feel compelled to hide secrets. God is faithful to forgive our sins if we truly repent and ask Him for it. God promises that He will restore us to physical and emotional health (Psalm 32:3-5, 65:2-4).
Our Health Suffers
When we eat whatever forbidden fruit there is in our lives, we can expect that there will be consequences for our words or actions. We are deceiving ourselves if we, like Adam and Eve, think that we can hide from God and cover up what we have done. God knows our dirty little secrets. We pay a price when we do the wrong things.
Our health begins to deteriorate as the fallout of our sin begins (Psalm 38:3-6). We may find sources not only to take the blame but to alleviate our prodding consciences. We suffer from sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. Our physical health will also be affected.
However, the good news is that our God is a loving, caring Father who will forgive our sins when we repent. He will help us deal with the destructive results of our actions. When we accept responsibility for our sins, we can learn from our errors, and mature in our Christian walk.
Problems Are Not Solved
We may escape the consequences of our actions and temporarily relieve fear, anxiety, and guilt by blaming others. However, without accountability, issues are not addressed, and problems are not resolved. We are stuck and miserable.
How to Stop the Blame Game
When we constantly accuse God or other people of crimes against us, we are stirring up anger, resentment, and bitterness against them inside us. These feelings can lead to us harming other people intentionally or unintentionally.
We may mistreat our human targets and speak cruel, nasty words to them. We may even concoct ways to take revenge on them. These negative emotions can cause a downward spiral that plunges us into deeper and deeper chronic stress and physical ailments. Instead of blaming, we need to forgive those we perceive as perpetrators. We should put the situation behind us by letting go of our anger.
Sometimes, we are in a bad situation that is someone else’s fault and are innocent parties in any wrongdoing. Instead of pointing the figure of blame, we need to forgive them for what their words and actions, no matter what harm was done.
"When you blame others, you give up your power to change"
- Dr. Robert Anthony
Stop Blaming, Start Living
We need to take a second look at the blame we place on others and accurately assess who is really at fault. We may be an innocent party in some cases. When we have some fault in a situation, we should put the blame ourselves, where it often belongs.
© 2013 Carola Finch