Picture the scene. You’re stuck in a traffic jam. You’re now late for your meeting. The longer it goes on, the more frustrated you become. Then you find yourself doing that thing which we humans are very good at – you look for someone to blame. After all, this has got to be someone else’s fault…right? But the one crucial factor that can be so easily forgotten is that you are part of the problem. Why? Because you ARE the traffic too!
You see…’blame’ is often the first thing we do when we find ourselves in bad situations. It’s easy to detach ourselves from any responsibility and look instead for a scapegoat as if this will help relieve the problem. In our mind, we can form an over-simplistic narrative which pins the fault on one or two individuals. This, we think, will make life easier for us. One easy target as the cause of all our problems means our scorn gets fired in one direction. That should sort it all out…right? Problem is, life is not that simple. The convenient target is rarely the right one. How many times have we blamed the wrong person? How many times have we said or done things we later deeply regretted? And even if we’re right, what about the future? Is this a battle that’s really worth fighting? What about the challenge of bringing forgiveness & reconciliation to the other person?
The fact is, in this life, poo happens. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we’d like them too. It’s not necessarily anybody’s fault. It’s just that life can sometimes get really challenging.
Of course there are times when people need to be held to account for irresponsible actions that have caused hurt & pain to others. However real freedom is never really found in pinning blame on someone else. True freedom is found in taking responsibility. In other words, we can’t always control our circumstances but we can always control what we say about them. We can’t do much about the actions of others. However, we are absolutely in charge of how we react. That’s what real freedom is.
‘Blame’ is often the first thing that immaturity does in the tough times. It feels satisfying at the time – but it’s actually a prison that hinders us from being the free people God has called us to be. It’s a bit like an addictiction. But the problem with the blame game is that nobody ever wins.
When Jesus was being wrongly blamed by his accusers before he went to the cross, he didn’t say a word. He could have. He had every right to defend himself. But he didn’t. He took responsibility. His majestic silence spoke volumes about the beauty of his character. He saw a bigger picture. He went to the cross. He died for us. He purchased our freedom. He demonstrated for us what it really means to be free.
God wants us to live in victory. But it is victory that goes far beyond jingoism. It’s not about having victory over people, rather victory over ourselves.That means when tough things happen in life, we can still know the peace of God in every circumstance we go through.