I love games and I’m quite competitive, though I’ve learned to tone it down a bit since I now have kids and have to set a better example, yada, yada, yada.
Still I love to play a good board game, group game, guys versus girls game, card game, etc. Especially if I can possibly win.
And I can, trust me.
But there’s one game I’ve learned I can’t win at…at least not in the long run. That would be the blame game.
Ever play the blame game? I have. I’ve blamed my circumstances, my upbringing, by parents, my husband, my children, my church, my financial situation, my physical limitations, my age (I’ve used that one more and more recently!), and…gasp…God. In an effort to come out on top, I’ve blamed anyone and everyone for my shortcomings and mistakes and inabilities. Out of a need to look like a winner, I’ve tried to make others look like losers. And when the stakes got too high or the score got out of control, I’ve called “foul!” on whoever was the closest, the easiest to blame.
When winning is a big deal to you, blaming is an awfully handy tactic.
But it’s a faulty tactic too. Blamers are never really winners.
This morning in 2 Kings 6:26-33 I read an interesting account of a masterfully played game of blame. The king of Israel was posed with a serious and delicate problem. Of all things, two impoverished women had gotten together and decided to solve their problems by eating their two sons, one at a time. But after the first woman’s son had been slaughtered and eaten, the second woman suddenly thought better about the idea. She decided to withdraw her son from the menu. So the first woman was complaining to the king about her dilemma and asking for his help.
With everyone looking on and waiting for the king’s response he freaked out. I don’t know if he just couldn’t face up to the terrible circumstances that his leadership had created in Israel, or if he was just so appalled by the two women’s pact that he couldn’t think straight. But he freaked.
And then, fearing the opinions of those who were looking on and waiting for a solution or direction or something, he did what we so often do in a tight squeeze. He blamed someone else. Actually he blamed Elisha, the prophet of God. He even threatened to have Elisha’s head over this situation. That’s how much he put the blame on this man of God.
Of course God didn’t allow that to happen. God is a just God and He doesn’t allow us to get away with blaming others.
Next time I’m tempted to blame someone or something else for my own mistakes, shortcomings, or failures, I’m going to consider the rules I unearthed today about the blame game. Quite frankly, they make the game pointless and defeating.
- So long as I blame others for my sin, I’ll remain stuck in it. Honest confession and sincere repentance are necessary for me to get back on the winning side of things. (See Acts 4:19)
- God is not fooled by my casting blame on someone or some thing else. He knows my heart, my words, and my actions for what they are.
- No one else is really fooled by my blaming another either. In fact, when I put the blame elsewhere I end up looking immature, silly, self-absorbed, proud, and, frankly, stupid.
- When I take full blame for my own mistakes I actually advance a good deal closer to the winner’s circle. Winners acknowledge their shortcomings so they can address them and better themselves. Winners admit their mistakes and thus everyone realizes that they know their actions were wrong, instead of leaving everyone with the assumption that they don’t know right from wrong.
This morning I’ve already had to take the blame for a few little things, just some mistakes that cost me a little inconvenience. Even then I tried to wiggle myself out of shouldering the responsibility. But that was getting me nowhere. Now that I’ve accepted blame for what went wrong, I can make the necessary corrections and move on.
What about you? Have you been blaming someone or some thing else for your less-than-optimal situation? I get that. I’ve been a master at it at times. But allow me to blow the whistle if you will and take a time out. Examine your game plan. Is putting the blame elsewhere really working for you? I didn’t think so.
There’s victory in confession, even if it’s just between you and God. Let me know what you think!