Don't Blame Me!|
How do you respond when someone brings a problem to your attention? For many of us, our first reaction is to assume a defensive posture to deflect any blame for the problem away from ourselves. We may reply by saying, “Don’t blame me…It’s not my fault…I didn’t do it…It is not my job…Nobody told me…,” etc. Sometimes we react this way even when no one has accused us of any wrong. Worse than this, sometimes we react this way even when we are in the wrong.
This kind of defensive attitude is grounded in self-centeredness. Rather than being concerned for how a problem affects others or how a problem may be solved, the self-centered person seeks first to free himself from any guilt or obligation due to the problem. He trains himself to be on guard at all times lest he be blamed for anything. He finds fault with others in order to protect himself. He may even practice deception and dishonesty to cover himself when he is at fault. Such an attitude is the product of a selfish heart that sacrifices others and tells lies for its own comfort.
Rather than having such a selfish heart, a child of God must put on an attitude of love, for love “does not seek its own” (1Cor. 13:5). He must have humility of mind, for a humble person regards others as more important than himself (Phil. 2:3). He should have meekness, for a meek person does not malign anyone, is not contentious, and shows consideration for all (Tit. 3:1-2). These are characteristics seen in our Lord, who did not deflect blame from Himself, although He was innocent, but instead He silently received reviling and suffering for others so that He could solve our problem of sin (1Pet. 2:21-25).
If we will set aside our self-centered hearts and our defensive attitudes, then we will see that most of blame we dodge by being defensive is not worth the conflict we create. What does it matter who is to blame for so many of the trivial, temporal problems we have? Is it worth destroying the relationships we have with our families, our brothers and sisters in Christ, or with God? Is it not better to accept some responsibility for something that may not be your fault than to damage a relationship with someone you love? “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1Cor. 6:7) Rather than creating conflict and strife, let us be peacemakers in the image of God (Matt. 5:9).
Let us make some practical applications from the Scriptures regarding our defensive attitudes. James wrote, “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:19-20). Presently applied, this passage directs you to listen to someone who approaches you with a problem rather than being quick to speak in your own defense. Do not assume that any accusation is being made against you unless you hear one. If you do hear an accusation against you, consider it carefully, for it might be true.
If an accusation made against you is true, then be honest about it rather than searching for reasons to excuse yourself. Consider Proverbs 13:10 – “Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.” If you are to blame for a problem, then admit it and accept the consequences. If it is simply a trivial matter, then why suffer the hassle and strife of deflecting blame? If it is sin, then be thankful for the opportunity to confess the sin in order to be forgiven (Psa. 32:1-5).
If an accusation made against you is false, then consider whether or not it is worth a defense. Certainly, if you are falsely accused of sin, you must make a defense. However, if it is simply a trivial matter, it may not be worth the conflict to present a defense. It may be an occasion when it is best to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39), be “patient when wronged” (2Tim. 2:24), and not take into account a wrong suffered (1Cor. 13:5). Let love, patience, humility, meekness, and wisdom dictate your course rather than selfish pride.
Finally, let us consider again the example of our Lord Jesus, whom we are to imitate in all things. He was falsely accused of many things while He was on earth, yet He did not take personal offense. His concerns were always for His Father’s will and the people whom He came to save. It was not necessary for Him to defend Himself against false accusations, for the truth was on His side, and “He kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1Pet. 2:23). Therefore, if you trust God, then concern yourself with His will and the good of others as Christ did. Your Father in heaven will judge you righteously regardless of what anyone else may say.
Stacey E. Durham
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