When you find yourself in the midst of some difficulty, what is the first step to take in dealing with the problem? If you’re like many people, the first step is to figure out who can be blamed—as if assigning blame will somehow solve the problem.
The nation is in the midst of the greatest economic crisis in our lifetimes, yet instead of solutions, we hear an unending stream of accusation and blame. Republicans blame President Obama and the Democratic leadership who are failing to trim spending and act responsibly. The Democrats, in turn, blame the Republicans because they left the economy in such a mess. And, while the charges and countercharges fill the news, the economy continues its downward rush.
When horrific acts of violence occur—school shootings; domestic violence; random, drive-by killings—the media quickly turn to asking who is to blame. Gun-control fanatics blame gun manufacturers and dealers and anyone who wishes to own a gun for any reason. Militant gun owners and their advocates blame the violence of Hollywood movies and video games. And, amidst all of the blaming, sales of all sorts of rapid-fire munitions have exploded so that many thousands more of these weapons are in the hands of people who are ill-equipped and trained to use them.
If it were not so tragic and dangerous, the childishness of this approach would be laughable. Young children often concoct amazing excuses to avoid accepting responsibility for mistakes they have made. In children it can be humorous; but even then, we teach them the importance of honesty and accepting responsibility for their own actions. Too many people have come to view themselves as victims of the bad decisions of others instead of as people who have the power to choose how their lives will be lived.
One of the identifiers of growing maturity is when a young person accepts responsibility for personal mistakes instead of trying to hide those mistakes or blame someone else. Only when we accept personal responsibility can we begin taking honest steps to resolve our problems.
Who is to blame for our economic crisis? We are. We are the ones who selected leaders who promised more and more and always assured us that someone else would pick up the cost. Blaming them for doing what we asked them to do is childish.
Who is to blame for our violent, hate-filled world? We are. We are the ones who have insisted that God and His moral standards be excluded from schools, governments and communities. Raising a generation without morals and then blaming them for having no morals is childish.
One of the most important steps any of us can make in addressing the problems in our own lives is to honestly recognize that we are to blame for the vast majority of our personal problems. Are we saying that all problems are the result of our own choices? Of course not. But when we waste our time and energy focusing on who can be blamed, we end up convincing ourselves that we are powerless to make things better.
One of the great messages of Scripture is that with God’s help—help that He is willing and able to give—we can change the course of life and not simply live as helpless victims, constantly searching for someone to blame for the latest crisis.
If you’re ready to accept responsibility and find real solutions in your life, this website—LifeHopeandTruth.com—is here to help you.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m David Johnson.