A singer named Joe South sang a song titled “The Games People Play.” “The Blame Game” is one such game.
Here’s how it works: If I can divert attention to someone else and away from my own responsibility or excuse myself for my own sinful or carnal actions or reactions, I can hold off the blame I should take myself. It is typical human behavior, and it often works – at least for a while. There are three components to this scenario: run, hide and shift blame.
The devil knows how to keep this game alive, and constantly tempts us not to focus on our own faults, sins and reactions to hurts done to us by others so pain will remain. Either that, or he causes us to constantly focus on our own faults, sins and reactions to hurt that we become obsessed with these hurts and failures. Either way, he wins.
One of the first sins was that of blame. Adam, in his attempt to find an excuse for willfully choosing to eat off the wrong tree, blamed two others: Eve and God. Even blamed Satan. Nobody wanted to own up to the transgression.
“The wife YOU gave me tempted me, and I ate,” Adam said.
“Satan tempted me and I ate,” Eve said.
Let’s face it. Generally, there’s more than one person at fault in any relationship fracas, and one sense all share blame. In Adam’s case, it’s true Eve gave him the forbidden fruit, God placed two trees in the garden, and Satan cajoled Eve into taking the first bite. All were guilty but God, who, as Lord, had given Adam and Eve a choice. They weren’t robots MADE to obey God. The Scripture is clear that God never tempts anyone (Heb. 2:18). He doesn’t desire evil to have its sway over us, and He constantly stands with us to prevent our giving into it, but allowing temptation is simply part of His plan:
“Blessed (happy,to be envied) is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12, Amplified).
Run, Hide & Shift Blame
The sinful, carnal or Adamic nature lives in every human being, so run, hide and shift blame are our modus operandi until we decide that with the help of the grace of God we won’t do this any longer.
If and when we sin, our first move is where? usually away from God (run). If we could run and physically hide from God, we would.
Some people think they actually can run from God. One such was the prophet Jonah. When God told him to go to Nineveh to preach repentance, he hopped on a ship that was headed in the opposite direction to run from the Lord. We know the rest of the story – a perfectly designed fish named “Jaws” changed his mind.
Most of our running, however, isn’t geographical but avoiding times or situations in which we know God’s going to show up or be brought up. A lot of church skipping is nothing more than avoiding the Holy Spirit’s dealing. Some people avoid Godly people because they can’t stand to be convicted by their lives.
After the fall, Adam and Eve “hid” from the presence of the Lord, after realizing they were naked. You’re probably wondering why they realized they were naked, right? Hadn’t they realized they were naked before? No, not in a sinful sense. They were naked and not ashamed (Gen. 2:25). It is theorized that Adam and Even had a “glory covering,” so their focus was on loving God and each other, and not on their nakedness. Everything was copacetic in the garden. Woo hoo!
God asked, “Adam, where are you?” God wasn’t asking for a physical location! The question was asked to help Adam identify where he was with God at that moment. Adam said, “I was naked so I HID myself.”
We can hide ourselves in many ways. We can busy ourselves so we don’t have to think about God. We can do it with drugs or alcohol. We can develop a permissive philosophy so our sinfulness is justified as in “Everyone’s doing it. This can’t be wrong.” Basically, hiding is lying to ourselves about ourselves.
A comedian of 60s fame, Flip Wilson, made famous blame-shifting with his saying, “the devil made me do it.” If we’re realistic, we’ll admit this is one of our favorites. We can find a passel of excuses or methodologies to blame others for our own sin, faults and failings. The problem with this is that it never allows us the freedom to be set free from our own guilty feelings because we won’t ‘fess up.
This may all seem quite elementary until we come face to face with it. The Lord made it clear to me that one of the reasons I and others couldn’t find freedom from some things was because I/they kept blaming somebody else for the predicament, emotional pain or cyclical feelings. The first couple had two sons, originally, Cain and Able. We know the story. Cain killed Able out of jealousy, and God asked him where his brother was. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” replied Cain. He took no responsibility for his actions, shifting blame to someone else for taking care of Abel.
Abuse by others
I want to make it clear that suffering at the hands of someone who takes advantage of our size, age, emotional state or vulnerability is wrong and not our fault. The problem lies in not forgiving the guilty party and continuing to blame him or her for what they did. This will NOT set you free! You WILL become a victim of your circumstances, and fear and anger will rule your life. For those of us who pray/counsel with people who have suffered from physical or emotional abuse, we need to show mercy and comfort. But we must also help people out of their awful emotional circumstances by helping them see the need to stop blaming.
David was different
King David sinned when he took more than a passing glance at the UFO (Unclad Female Object), namely Bathsheba. His lust led to adultery and the murder of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband, who was one of David’s mighty men of war (2 Sam. 11).
David apparently lied to himself about what he had done, but when confronted by Nathan, who told him a story about a rich man who had taken a ewe lamb away from a poor man, David cried, “This man should die!” Then comes Nathan’s famous line, “You are the man!”
This allegory was enough for David to clearly see he had been found out – Scripture says, “the Lord sent Nathan.”
David acknowledged his sin, repented of it, but the consequences led to the death of his first child with Bathsheba.
Psalm 51 recounts David’s sin with Bathsheba, but here we find a different response. “ In verse 4, David says to God, ”Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just” (New Living Translation (©2007).
Were there others to blame in this situation? Personally, I don’t think Bathsheba was naive enough to think the king wasn’t checking her out, as she lay sunbathing on her roof below his. Scripture says she was “beautiful.” She was probably in Sports Illustrated’s latest swimsuit issue that had just hit the Jerusalem’s scrolls.
I can just hear most of us under these same circumstances:
“Lord, Bathsheba shouldn’t have been lying out naked as a jaybird in front of me. “It wasn’t my fault. It was Eve’s fault – I mean Bathsheba’s. You should rebuke her for that.”
“God, it was that demon of lust again. That thing gets me every time I look at woman with no clothes on.”
“Lord, if you had just gotten me those super dark sunglasses when I asked you to, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Blaming others: it’s as easy as 1,2,3
Blaming others is easy to do. In the deliverance ministry, a lot of people never truly get set free because they want to blame others or demons for their situation, and again, there may be some truth about both their involvement.
However, if you continue to focus on blaming the person who hurt you, your pain will remain. Demons most often have to have had something to work with, or they wouldn’t have gotten hold of the person needing deliverance. I hate demons, but putting the blame entirely on the demon usually won’t set you free. Again, God looks for truth in the situation. Truth blows the devil’s cover!
I put this in a different category because it’s SO major in many people’s lives. “Why did God let…?” “God took my wife/son/daughter, and I’ll never serve Him again.” “Where was God during all this hell that happened to me?” These are typical questions or statements about how God is to blame for whatever happened to us. We can develop an inner rage at God (Prov. 19:3). After all, He knows everything before it happens, so why didn’t he prevent it? The overall answer to this is I don’t know, and usually, neither does anyone else.
This we do know. God is perfectly holy and just and always does what is right and righteous. It may not seem to us that this is true, especially at the outset. From a human and especially Christian perspective, we know that this is true if we believe the Scripture. On the other side of the coin, emotionally, we may remain incensed at the Lord for a long, long time because we are not honest about the way we feel. Getting real will help you get on with your life and enjoy it; honesty is the key.
Honest to God
God doesn’t lie, and His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of truth. You can’t lie to Him and expect Him to okay it. He wants the truth, the whole and nothing but the truth, so help you. Playing church, and acting like everything is “okay” when it’s not won’t set you free. Since God knows everything about everyone all the time, He doesn’t need you to explain things to him. “Well, God, you just don’t know my brother, Phillip. He’s been a jerk all my life.”
God is only after the truth from our mouths about how we feel about others and Him. Anything less than the truth won’t get you there. He can take it, believe me. He won’t be shocked by anything you tell Him. But you’ll feel a “block” with God as long as something isn’t brought into the open. And experiencing real freedom sometimes requires confession to another human. Why? Because it’s a pride killer! And the last vestiges of hidden sin or faults may just need that extra boost to rise to the top so you can be rid of them!
James 5:14-16 says we sometimes need to confess our faults one to another and pray for one another, and if we have committed sins, they will be forgiven, and healing will result. If you confess something to a person you’re ashamed of or not proud of, for goodness sake choose a mature believer you can trust and not a blabbermouth!
God knows who’s to blame in your situation. He will always vindicate the righteous, and He may not want your help to get the job done. We so often want God to avenge us, but we decide He’s not going to do it to our satisfaction or quickly enough, so we do it ourselves.
“Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it” (Romans 12:19, The Message (MSG)
The Blame Game is a losing game. In summary, you become a victim of your own circumstances, and bonded, in a sense, to the person who may have mistreated you. Personally, I decided that my Father is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all I could ever ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Letting go of blame is peace, joy and the Holy Spirit, and it “sets God free” to move on your behalf! God can uncover covered up places in our deceitful selves so we can “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7).