“All my life,” he said, “I passed the buck. Whenever I messed up, I blamed someone else. Somehow, I made myself believe that he or she or they made me do whatever I had done. I mastered the blame game.”
My friend stopped, looked at his feet, and said, “And it cost me everything in the end: my job, my self-respect, and my family.” He was silent for a long time. Finally, he spoke again. “I don’t know what might happen next, but I know this. From now on, I’m owning whatever I do, mistakes and all. What have I got to lose? Who knows, I might make better decisions if I accept upfront that I’m accountable for my actions.”
Five years passed, and my friend followed through on his resolution. He settled into a new job, made a few new friends, and took better care of himself. Much to his surprise, he even reconnected with God.
The last time we talked, he told me to share his story with others. “And be sure to tell them,” he said, “that’s it’s been hard at times. I still fight the compulsion to play the blame game. Sometimes I get tired of taking responsibility for my actions. But at least I’m no longer lying to myself about myself, and that feels good. I sleep better at night. I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been.”
Both the man and the woman in these Scriptures play the blame game. What might have happened if they had come clean, confessed, and taken responsibility for their decisions? We’ll never know the answer. What I do know is that because my friend broke the blame game pattern that he was so dependent on, he eventually gained a new life.
When have you played the blame game? Are you playing it now? What does it take to break that pattern? On this day in particular, how do we move forward?
God, grant me enough wisdom to step away from the habit of blaming, take responsibility for my actions, and forge a new way of life in partnership with you. Amen.