The Blame Game

Today’s Reading: Genesis 3:11-13

Growing up, my older sister, younger brother, and I were masters of blaming our mischief on one another. Whether we were causing trouble together or independently, we would blame one another the moment we were caught. We weren’t unique… that’s what kids do, right? They play the “blame game,” doing whatever they can to avoid facing consequences. The thing is, though, this isn’t just a childhood phenomenon. Adults do the same thing, although we are perhaps a little less obvious about it.

When I read this story of Adam and Eve, that’s what stands out to me. Both had eaten from the tree that God had commanded them not to eat from and they both knew they did something wrong – that’s why they were hiding! But when God confronts them, they are quick to point the finger. When God asks the man, “Did you eat from the tree?” he answers, “The woman you put here with me… it’s her fault! She gave it to me!” Then God asks the woman why she did it and her response? “It’s the serpent’s fault! It tricked me into eating it!”

Just as it was a challenge for them to accept responsibility for the choice they made, it’s difficult for us, too. It’s hard for us to admit fault, not only because we are afraid of the consequences, but also because it means that our embarrassment and shame will be visible to others. So instead, we blame our angry outbursts on our loved one’s actions or cover up a lie with more lies rather than admitting our dishonesty. Yet this is not the life to which we are called. We are called to freedom! We become free by being vulnerable and admitting our mistakes. It is only through acknowledging our wrongdoings that we can restore relationships, find forgiveness from others, and begin to forgive ourselves.

Do you find that you have a tendency to blame others for your own mistakes? Is there something that you haven’t accepted full responsibility for? Might this be the week where you take that step?