The Allure of Blame

June 3, 2013

Dwight Lee Wolter

"[God asked]: 'Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?'  The man said, 'The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.'  Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'" - Genesis 3: 11b-13

The Blame Game is as old as Adam and Eve. The man blames God (you put her here); then the man blames the woman (she gave it to me); then the woman blames the serpent (it deceived me). God blames the serpent and it has to forever slither its way through life.

Blame works. If it weren't effective, it wouldn't be so popular. Like a potent narcotic it absolves any sense of personal responsibility for the mess you find yourself in: Blame God for children dying in car accidents. Blame poverty on poor women having babies. Blame Hurricane Katrina on God's wrath for too many homosexuals living in New Orleans. Blame Republicans. Blame Democrats. If we can just find someone or something to blame, then we can ridicule it, fire it, divorce it, disinfect it, vote it out of office and finally end our pain and fear.

But blame, like narcotics and antibiotics, loses its effectiveness if overused. Blaming those who blame doesn't work either. It just makes them double-down and blame more until spiritual rigor mortis inevitably sets in.

The only known antidote is love. Love works better than blame. Love drains the strength of blame and never loses its effectiveness. Love lessens the fear, pain and shame behind blame and helps us to see and accept who we are and what we have done. Love allows us to let go of our end of the rope in a tug-of-war between blamer and blamed. Then the Blame Game ends.

Prayer

Creator God, love me as I blame you, blame others and blame myself. Then lead me to the still waters of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness.

About the Author
Dwight Lee Wolter is the author of Forgiving Our Parents, Freedom Through Forgiving (a workbook), and Forgiving Our Grownup Children. He is pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York.
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