He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’
And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? 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 3:8-13 NIV)
Whenever I can’t find something around our house—my car keys, my phone, a particular shirt—my instinct is to blame my wife. It just comes naturally to me. She must have put it in a different place. On rare occasions that is the case, but most often it is I who am responsible. I just couldn’t remember it was me who put a particular something in a certain place.
This instinct can be easily traced. We see in this passage that it had its beginning in Eden with the first man and first woman to exist. Adam blamed God and Eve. And Eve blamed the serpent. Neither of them was willing to admit responsibility and take the blame.
This trait is embedded in the human DNA and we see evidence of it every day, in the news and in our own lives. Students blame professors for their poor grades in classes. Employees blame employers for their poor wages. Spouses blame each other for their marriage woes. Politicians blame the media. The list could go on and on. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, on occasion the blame is accurately placed, but only on occasion. Most of the time, the one blaming is the one most likely responsible for the situation, or at least is an equal participant.
So why is it so easy to shift blame and seek to avoid responsibility in the many situations we face in life? The answer is simple: We were born that way. It is our pride. And as is often recognized by professional therapists, the first step to solving a problem is to recognize you have one. We can either live life continually in the mindset we are never to blame, or we can humble ourselves and carefully begin to reflect on our individual responsibility in any given situation we face.
Today, ask yourself this question: How often to do I seek to shift blame away from myself and onto others? With that in mind, begin to observe when you are tempted to do this in everyday situations. I am guessing you are going to be a bit surprised at how much of a problem it is for you, which of course is the first step to take in beginning to solve it.
© Jim Musser 2017