Don’t be a Blame Thrower
Ever seen a flamethrower in the movies? It’s a fiery torch designed to destroy people. “Blame throwers” do the same. When life doesn’t go their way, instead of taking responsibility for their decisions and actions they blame others.
And there’s no shortage of scapegoats. For example: My business would have succeeded if the banker had loaned me more money… I wanted to be part of the ministry team but my husband didn’t like the idea… The doctor botched the operation.
But when it comes to blame-shifting, there’s no wiggle room as far as God’s Word is concerned: “Every one of us shall give account of himself.”
The problem with blame-shifting is that it stops you from taking constructive action and moving on with your life.
As psychologist Dr. Brenda Shoshanna observes: “Each person you blame is holding on to a piece of your personal power and self-respect… Taking responsibility for what’s happening in your life is one of the most empowering things you can do.
New choices become available… your anger is reduced… you see people and events with new eyes. Remember, responsibility can also be read as response-ability: the ability to respond instead of reacting.
No question – it can be intimidating to take charge of your life, but you’ll be amazed at the joy and freedom it brings. Will you make mistakes along the way? Of course! Will you stumble and fall? Sure! But there’s nothing like that feeling of stepping out in faith, and with God’s help taking the next step.
Sally managed a small marketing company, and when problems arose she automatically looked for a scapegoat. At sales meetings she berated and criticized her co-workers, choosing to call her tirades “pep talks.”
Her associates began to resign in droves, and when company revenues declined Sally blamed it on the slow economy, inefficient staff, and bad working conditions. Finally her boss had enough and fired her.
Blame-shifting was how Sally survived. It never occurred to her that she may have contributed to the problem, in even a small way. Blaming others undermines your ability to “take responsibility for… your own life. One expert writes: “Instead of becoming stronger you become weaker.”
People think if they admit to being part of the problem it means they’ve failed in some way. In reality the opposite is true. It takes strength to concede that everyone involved played a part. Another side effect of blame throwing is self-righteousness. In your mind you become unassailable, different, and better than others.
You think you’re the strong one and other people are flawed. Nothing could be further from the truth; the Bible says, “The bigger the ego, the harder the fall” (Proverbs 16:18 TM). When you blame others you lose your ability to see what’s really going on. And you’re shocked when you lose a relationship or a job because you never saw it coming… When you stop blaming others you develop compassion.
You realize mistakes are natural and inevitable – and they’re just mistakes. They can be corrected. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or other people. So: “Take responsibility for… your own life.”