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The Blame Game-devotional

"Wasn't me!"

My fourteen-year-old son has spoken those words more often than I care to remember. It's always someone else's fault - most often, his sister's. To my son, blaming comes almost as naturally as the gray roots he's causing to sprout from my head. Hey, at least heís doing his part to keep Clairol in business!

Okay, so my son isnít the only one ever to speak those words, ďWasnít me!Ē After all, Adam started the whole blaming thing that day in the garden: ďIt was the woman You gave me. She brought me the fruit and I ate it.Ē But Eve wasnít about to take the fall: ďIt was the serpent. He tricked me.Ē (Genesis 3)

Canít you just picture God rolling His eyes at that one?

With sin, came blame. And because none of us is yet perfected (contrary to my teenaged sonís not-so-humble perception of himself) blaming and making excuses is still very much alive and well today. So how can I get my son to stop playing the blame game where everyone loses?

I suppose I can start by setting an example. I might not say the words, "Wasn't me!" but when it takes longer to check out at the grocery store than it does to do my shopping, I excuse my impatience: It's the cashier's fault! If my kids leave their toys in the middle of the floor, I excuse my outburst of anger: If the toys weren't there, I wouldn't have yelled! Itís trafficís fault that I was late. Or my momís fault that I donít handle money properly. If she would have taught me betterÖ

Yada, yada, yada.

God wants us to be accountable for the way we act. The truth is, we are all responsible for how we respond to our circumstances. The moment weíre old enough to realize how something should be handled, weíre able to make a good choice. I can choose to exercise patience while I wait in that grocery store line. I can decide not to yell at my kids when they leave their stuff lying around. Iím not saying itís easy, only that itís possible! If I do choose to yell or become frustrated, guess whose fault it is? (Quit pointing!)

But isnít it great that when we are quick to say, "I did something stupid," or, "I was wrong," God is even quicker to forgive. Making excuses and blaming others for our actions only causes dissension and separation Ė between us and others and, even more, between us and God. Yet, each time we confess, we become a little more sensitive to just how much we need Jesus and His forgiveness, which is what it's really all about.

In the same way, I am much more likely to show mercy to my son when he takes responsibility for his actions and stops blaming his sister. Convincing him of that, however, may take some time.

Just like convincing me that my son isnít the cause of my gray hair isnít going to happen any time soon.

I just donít buy it.

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)

Submitted by:

Lynn Powers

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