Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Today’s Topic: The Blame Game
Today’s Text: Isaiah 53:4b …yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted.
We live in an “I win, you lose” world. Ever since the fall of man into sin in the Garden of Eden human nature has been corrupted with an exaggeration of self resulting in a minimizing of others. Even when things go wrong for us, we defend our own positions by blaming others for what went wrong.
Even secular business leaders understand this flaw in human nature. While they may not understand it’s cause, they know how to define its existence. Luke Iorio is the CEO of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Recently, in a response to a blog about the blame game we play, he said, “ Individuals caught up in the blame game…tend to put themselves first and give little credit to others…We want to look good, look smart, look competent and that can come at the sacrifice of taking responsibility.”
Whether we consciously think about it or not, we all have determined our own criteria for measuring our personal value and worth. Some use the standard of financial success. Others choose professional status. Still others claim that job performance determines worth. Far too many choose to accept failure in all of the above areas and turn to other self-declared measures of human value, like sex, or they give up completely and get lost in a world of drugs and alcohol to minimize the pain of failure.
One thing is true of all of these people – when confronted with any failure, they immediately seek to protect whatever level of value they claim for themselves by transferring blame to someone else. If the project fails, then it was the project’s fault, but not mine. If the relationship fails, it must be something they did. If my position is threatened, it must be the fault of the people in charge for not truly understanding my worth and making a bad decision. Oh how quickly the blame game starts.
It was no different in Jesus’ day. The religious leaders were threatened by the truth Jesus proclaimed. Their comfort zones became uncomfortable. They had built their reputations using religion as an expression of pride through self-advancement and self-valuation, yet it was all declared unrighteous by the Son of God.
So what did they do? They sought to find fault with Him. They conspired to produce falsified testimony that would have Him declared a heretic and sentenced to death. They shifted the blame to the blameless in an attempt to justify His death. They even went so far as to say that His punishment was justly imposed by God because of His sin. All this in an attempt to solidify their own positions and worth. They played the blame game to perfection.
Unfortunately, the result of the blame game is always the same – self-destruction. Because God is righteous and just, the blame always settles on the guilty. Someday, somewhere, somehow, whether in this life or for certain in eternity, the truth will be revealed and the price will be paid – double the price for the original sin if responsibility for the sin has been transferred to another.
In this life, people who play the blame game hoping to benefit from it actually suffer from it. Nathanael Fast is an assistant professor of Management and Organization at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and he states in the Harvard Business Review that “playing the blame game never works. A deep set of research shows that people who blame others for their mistakes lose status, learn less, and perform worse relative to those who own up to their mistakes.”
But the bigger issue is what will happen before the throne of God when the truth about our lives is declared. We do not serve Jesus nor do we live like Jesus for the earthly benefits: we do so because we love Him and have found our value completely from Him. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) We are healed from the blame game, because the blame has already been paid for.
So take responsibility for your actions; they do not determine your worth. Your worth and value were bought and paid for on the cross when Jesus died for your sins. Accept His forgiveness, and be healed.