Thursday, February 28, 2008

Playing the Blame Game



And he [God to Adam] said, “Who told you that you were naked?

Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man [Adam] said, “The woman you put here with me -- she gave me

some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:11-12, NIV)


For the last decade I have done a considerable amount of work in the area

of divorce and grief recovery. In my experience I have found that by far

the majority of divorcees primarily blame their former spouse for the failure

of their marriage.


On one occasion I suggested to a divorcee that she consider why she had

gone through divorce several times. Without hesitation she said,

“Because the men I married were jerks.”


She has been married at least two more times that I know about since then.


By the way, I am not picking on divorcees as they are not the only ones

who play the blame game. Many, if not most of us, tend to project

the blame for our failures onto others. This problem is as old as mankind.

It started with Adam in the Garden who, not only blamed Eve for his actions

but also God. He said in essence to God, “The woman YOU gave me made me do it!”


The reality in life is that no matter what conflict situation we are in,

we are all contributing something -- even if we are being too nice, too weak,

too codependent, or too anything else.


Whenever I am in a conflict, I have learned (the hard way) to ask God

to show me what I am contributing to the situation, what I need to see,

what I need to do to help resolve the problem, and what I need to learn.


What the other person has done is their issue and I can’t change them.

How I react is always my responsibility -- and to the degree I overreact

that is always my problem. Over-reactions are caused by unresolved issues

from my past which get triggered in the present.


Furthermore, like the divorcee mentioned above, what we fail to resolve

we are destined to repeat… and repeat! And as long as we keep playing

the blame game, we will never overcome the difficulties we keep running into.


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, help me to see what I am contributing

to every conflict I am in, to quit playing the blame game, to take responsibility

for my actions, to change where I need to change, to develop healthy boundaries,

and to be pro-active rather than reactive. Gratefully in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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