Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And it came to pass when he (Jephthah) saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! Thou hast brought me very low.’”
“A Daughter Remembered” Part 3
The Blame Game
“The reason people blame things on (others) is that there’s only one other choice.”
Have I ever used the “Blame Game” to fault others for problems in my own life?
How do I feel when others blame me for their problems?
What does the word “Responsibility” mean to me?
“The one with the primary responsibility to the individual’s future is that individual.”
“Some shrug their shoulders as if to shake off whatever chips of responsibility might have lodged there.”
We all have pet peeves. Those little things, and sometimes very big ones, that ruffle our feathers. If there is anything that gets under my skin and annoys me, it is being blamed for something I did not do.
Having worked at a job for years which is dependent on the harmonious collaboration of different people and companies, I’ll freely admit I find my patience stretched to the limit when something goes wrong and someone dips into their bag of tricks and pulls out the blame game, pointing a finger at this or that person, trying to immediately deflect any personal responsibility whatsoever.
I don’t believe I’m exaggerating when I say that every person who has and ever will live on planet earth will at one time or another find themselves on the receiving end of the arrow of blame.
And we shouldn’t be surprised at all, for at the beginning of time the Biblical record in Genesis starts off with blame being tossed around like a hot potato from one person to another. In Genesis 3: 11, the story of the human fall into sin begins with God asking a simple question of Adam. “Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”
It would have been easy enough for Adam to give God a straightforward answer of “Yes” or “No.” Instead, he acted like a 21st century politician I recently heard being interviewed. When asked any question that could have been responded to simply by a one word answer of “yes” or “no,” this person decided to give a mini – speech on why he did what he did. Usually his answer involved blaming someone else.
Adam did the same when he blamed, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3: 12). But Eve isn’t off the hook either for when God asked her, “What is this that thou hast done?” her response was just as pathetic. She was also in on the “blame game.” “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” While Eve also had someone to blame, at least she got one thing right when she admitted to God that the serpent seduced her and she fell for his flattering words and promises of better things to come.
If we read a few chapters later in Genesis, we find Abraham blaming Sarah for his moral failure in having sex with her maid, Hagar. And then in Exodus, Moses’ brother, Aaron, who caved-in to the pleas of the children of Israel while Moses was on Sinai, had this dilly of an answer for his big brother when asked where the golden calf had come from. “And Aaron said, ‘I cast the (gold) into the fire, and there came out this calf.” (Exodus 32: 24). This is a doozy – blaming inanimate objects for our faults.
But in our text for today, I find Jephthah’s behavior some of the most revolting – a father blaming his daughter for the thoughtless words that came out of his own mouth. After being welcomed by his little girl who was happily celebrating her father’s victory in battle, she was responded to by hostile, attacking words: “You have brought me low. My bad mood, my unhappiness, my sorrow, my problems – they are your fault!”
Do statements like this sound familiar to you?
How many times, in my own life, I find that I blame others for situations I caused. And when I don’t like the outcome or find myself in a corner, it’s easy to lay the blame for my predicament on someone else.
In our story of “A Daughter Remembered,” lesson three is one that really hit home for me.
Living in a world where personal responsibility is often cast aside like yesterday’s garbage, it is refreshing when I hear someone say, “I made the mistake. I’ll take the blame. And I’ll correct my error.”
I wonder how different your world and mine would be, if instead of trying to weasel our way out of irresponsible behavior, we admitted our faults and endeavored to correct them.
The other day I read words penned by famed author George Eliot whose character in Adam Bede made this amusing statement about the way we humans blame others. “There’s folks that would stand on their heads and then say the fault was that I was in their boots.”
This is exactly the kind of upside down logic we use when we choose to blame others for our own faults.
Let us never forget the words of Joan Didion who said, “Character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – is the source from which self-respect springs.”
“Responsibility is the price every (person) must pay for freedom. It is to be had on no other terms.”
A Prayer For Responsible Living
“This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
We will not offer to God
offerings that cost us nothing.
Spirit of God,
brooding over the waters
of our chaos,
inspire us to
Wind of God,
dancing over the desert
of our reluctance,
lead us to the oasis
of responsible behavior.
Breath of God
Make us channels
of your harmony.
That we may live
uplifting lives…encouraging lives.
Lives that accept our grounding
in Your provision and guidance.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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