Happy Monday! The other day I witnessed a couple in a heated argument. I was not eavesdropping; it was just impossible not to overhear their conversation. They were blaming each other for something that their child did. I went home and smugly thought to myself, ‘So glad that I am not prone to blaming my husband for things that I need to take responsibility for.’ Ironically, I managed to do that very thing that afternoon. I shifted the blame on my husband for something that did not get done that was really my responsibility.
The definition of blame is to assign responsibility for a fault or wrong. Did you get that? We assign responsibility for a fault to another person rather than accepting our responsibility or part.
We all know the blame game. It seems to be in operation when something goes down and there needs to be someone on which to pin the responsibility. We feel as though we have to win the argument, be justified, make ourselves look good – whatever the reason, it is a reality and a trap that we all fall into.
So what do we do about it? Over the years, I have discovered a way to force myself to own responsibility, a way to help me check my motives when difficulty arises with someone else. Before I approach them I asked myself the question: ‘What is my motive?’ This is somewhat like King David who penned these words:
Search my heart God and see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in everlasting life. (Psalm 139)
Stopping the blame game starts with a exam of your own heart. Is it easy? No. Do I like to do it? No. Do I need to do this? Yes. It is the easiest way to keep our motives pure and our hearts soft. It is the best way to assume responsibility for our own actions and not pass the blame to another person.
And now that I have given you this cheery little message this morning, I might as well add something else to the fire. Sometimes when I ask the Holy Spirit to check my heart, He asks me to release my judgments against the other person. That doesn’t seem fair. They need to take responsibility for their part. But He always reminds me that this is His job to bring conviction to another person. Sometimes I will whisper a prayer about the other person that seems so humble: ‘Lord, please open the eyes of the other person so that they can see their wrong in this.’ God whispers back. ‘Let’s deal with your heart, Joanne.’ Busted.
This morning, as you begin a new week, let’s determine together to not blame others but to seek the Lord to purify our own hearts. Dealing with issues this way is a game changer in our relationships with co-workers, family members, friends, and spouses. Try it. I’d love to hear from you how it goes.