Who do we blame? You might think that the opening sentences of this brief article are missing. After all, what’s gone wrong? What’s happened? Who’s involved? But those details are less important. First, we need someone to blame.
Somehow, we have, as a society, confused blame with solution. Some politicians blame and win electors’ votes. Some media commentators blame and increase their ratings/subscriptions/followers. Some sports coaches blame and get their contracts renewed. It seems we blame because it works – if by works we mean that we don’t have to accept any blame.
The blaming lifestyle is relatively easy to detect. It always has a pattern. That pattern looks something like this:
Person A enters into Context A and a Type 1 Problem results.
Person A enters into Context B and a Type 1 Problem results.
Person A enters into Context C and a Type 1 Problem results.
Person A enters into Context D and a Type 1 Problem results.
What reason does Person A think caused a problem in each of the different Contexts? Before I point out the cause of the problem resulting in each scenario, there is only one thing that is consistent in each of these scenarios – and it’s not the different Contexts!
It can be an almost impossible task for a blamer to recognise such obvious patterns. This task becomes even more complicated when the various Contexts actually do share some small measure of blame for the recurring problem. But until a blamer recognises the repeating patterns in their life – and does the one thing that can break this cycle – they will, like Sisyphus, be doomed to repeat the very thing which causes their pain and frustration.
What is this one thing that can break this cycle of pain and frustration? When our parental forebears, Eve and Adam, rebelled, God’s presence somehow exposed them as blamers. Adam now blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. And the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on. God ignored this blaming and took the responsibility for solving this catastrophe. Responsibility breaks the cycle of blaming which leads to pain and frustration.
The most catastrophic problem we each face is the eternal guilt and shame resulting from our sinfulness and sin. A solution has been made available by Christ, The Burden-Bearer and Great Solution-Provider. The solution is offered freely to all but requires some responsibility from us: acknowledgment of our guilt, confession of our sin, an appeal to the Saviour. Our propensity to blame is so rooted in our natures’ that it takes initiating-responsibility from the Holy Spirit for its bondage to be broken so that we can exercise our responsibility to take this responsibility of being honest to God in order to receive His forgiveness and grace. This is not just a matter of our conversion event either. It is the ongoing means for us to be transformed from a hurt, pained, frustrated, blamer – into a healed, whole, fulfilled responsible spiritual adult.
CHRIST, THE CHAIN-BREAKER
Some blamers go from church to church to church always being ‘hurt’. I hope that hundreds of these hurting and frustrated people will be drawn to our church and the pattern of their church experience will be broken as the Holy Spirit brings them to healing wholeness and fulfilment as they discover different strategies for dealing with difficult people and circumstances. Like any family, we will have times of disagreement and sharp reminders of our fallen-yet-redeemed human natures. But like any family which becomes stronger and closer by resolving such disagreements, we too can grow closer and stronger as we learn what the Gospel means when it commands God’s people to patiently bear with one another. This involves breaking those cyclic chains that come from blaming which causes us to run and once again repeat the very patterns which have led us to be hurt, pained, and frustrated.
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
First Corinthians 14:20
Hurt, pain, and frustration can become a very comfortable set of clothes. It has many benefits after all (sympathy, attention, support, and so on) but it has one glaring disadvantage: it keeps us in bondage and denies us the blessing of becoming mature. I hope that our church becomes a place where the chains of blame are broken from off the lives of those seemingly forever wandering like immature Israel in the wilderness and that these formerly hurting broken lost and lonely souls can find their way across the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land of God’s blessing (a Land of giants, battles, toil, and hard-work – by the way). I pray that those who have only ever known the milk of God’s Word will begin to enjoy its milk and honey and meat.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Blame alone cannot provide solutions. It is my hope that we as a church will an agent of God’s solutions to people. By so doing we will fulfil our motto of helping to make life better.