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The Blame Game

Weekly Devotionals

The Blame Game

Genesis 3:8-13

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Whenever something goes wrong, very often our first reaction is to find out who’s to blame.  If we happen to be part of a group or organization that did something wrong, we are quick to claim our innocence and look for the scapegoat.  If it’s something that I did wrong, sometimes I’ll look for how the other did wrong first, before admitting wrong.  This happens in politics, corporations, churches, and families.  It seems that blaming is instinctual, or rather self-preservation and self-defense is instinctual (unfortunately at the expense of the other).

You ever wonder, “What’s the second sin in the Bible?”  Most of us know the first sin, which was eating the forbidden fruit.  This represented humanity’s illicit reach for self-independence away from God, an act of rebellion wherein we are saying to God, “I don’t need you.”  Right after that, God in his steadfast pursuit of us, asks, “Where are you?”  Of course, God knows.  But he’s asking so that we would search out in our hearts where we are.  And then comes humanity’s second sin, “The WOMAN…YOU put here with me….”  In one sentence, Adam blames both God and his wife (very typical of spousal arguments).  And then Eve blames the serpent.

Have you ever stopped to question the benefit of blame?  How does it help the situation?  What does it do for you to blame another?  It just makes you feel good about yourself that it wasn’t your fault (at least not mostly your fault).  It makes the other person feel like crap.  Now, please note that it is important for people to take ownership for any wrongs committed or failures to keep responsibilities.  But there’s a difference between identifying who did what wrong as opposed to blame.  To blame is to accuse.  And the voice of accusation can often align with our enemy, who in Scripture is often called the Accuser.  We don’t want to be a part of that.

So what’s the solution?  What should Adam and Eve have done?  It would’ve been better if they owned up to their failure, confessed and turned back to God.  Likewise, we need to take responsibility for our shortcomings, and we can even identify the person in a group who failed.  But there’s no need to add blame and accusation.  It simply exacerbates the tension.  Instead, we need to forgive, encourage and work towards a solution.