Are you playing the blame game? Not sure what that is? Then keep on reading.
This blog post is part 15 of the series Eight Steps to Experiencing His Victory
Understanding the Blame Game
The blame game is when you blame someone or something in your life for the way you are and the choices that you make. It’s not your fault that you act a certain way, it’s theirs. If they hadn’t done this to you, you wouldn’t be doing what you are doing.
It’s so easy to blame someone else for your actions because it seemingly frees you from personal responsibility. It’s their fault I’m the way I am. It’s my dad. It’s my mom. It’s my teacher. It’s my boss. It’s my husband. It’s my wife. It’s the economy. It’s the government.
The list could go on and on. There are so many people, things, and events to blame for the way you are and the way you act. Here are some possible ways people explain the things they do. See if you can recognize how each statement seeks to justify why they are what they are or did what they did:
- Of course, I’m an angry person, I grew up in a home filled with anger.
- If my wife would have met my needs, I never would have committed adultery.
- When the economy took a nosedive, I had no choice but to start taking money from the company.
- I wouldn’t be addicted to drugs if it weren’t for Dave. He was the one who pressured me to start taking Meth.
- Why shouldn’t I be filled with hatred and bitterness, you don't know what they did to me.
- Me believe in God? Why should I? Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites.
- I can’t believe that you shoplifted some clothes. Why do you always do things that make me beat you?
The blame game is always the same. It’s always someone or something that is responsible for what you are or what you are doing. If there is any hope of change, it must come through acknowledging the part that we had to play in the situation.
My mother-in-law Kate recently passed away and my wife was able to hear a wonderful story about her mother from one of her nieces. She told about how sometimes she would get in a fight with her husband she would go to Kate’s house and tell her all about what her husband had done. Kate would listen patiently to all she had to say and then ask a simple question. “What did you do?”
Kate was very wise and knew that it wasn’t just her grandson’ s actions that needed to be considered. What did you do is a powerful question that forces you to consider the part that you play in the situation.
David and Bathsheba
I’d like to us to consider the story of David and Bathsheba and see how through the process of what took place how David could have excused himself of responsibility for what he was doing and put the blame on others.
David is the king of Israel. It was a time for him to lead his armies in battle, but he decided to send them off to battle and remained in Jerusalem. One evening he got out of bed and went for a walk on the roof of his house and saw a very beautiful woman bathing.
David sent someone to inquire who she was and found out that she was the wife of Uriah, the Hittite. Knowing she was married to one of the soldiers away fighting on the battlefield, he sent for her and had sex with her. She became pregnant.
David came up with a plan to cover his sin with Bathsheba. He called Uriah home off the battlefield so that he would have sexual relations with her and he would think that the child was his.There was only one problem, Uriah refused to go home and be with his wife while his fellow soldiers were on the battlefield.
Uriah chose to sleep at the door of the king’s house with his other servants. David called him back and encouraged him to go to his house. Uriah said he could not do such a thing when the ark of the Lord, Joab, the leader of the army, and the rest of his fellow soldiers were sleeping in tents.
David was getting desperate. He called Uriah back again and feed him and kept giving him alcohol until he was drunk hoping this would get him to go home. It did not work, so David sent a message to the leader of the army and told him to put Uriah in the fiercest part of the battle and then pull the army back leaving him alone to die.
Uriah was killed and David thought that he was in the clear. But, of course, he wasn’t. God knew what he had done. God sent the prophet Nathan to confront the king with his sin. He had a choice to make would he blame someone else for his deeds or would he take responsibility for his own actions?
Here are some possible things David could have said:
- If Bathsheba hadn’t been bathing naked when I was taking my walk on the roof, this never would have happened in the first place.
- If Bathsheba wasn't so beautiful, I’d never have been tempted.
- If she would have resisted my advances, I would never have had sex with her.
- If she had been more careful, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant.
- If only Uriah would have gone to his house, I wouldn't of had to kill him
Nathan the prophet confronted David to his face. David chose to take responsibility for his actions.He told Nathan that he had sinned against the Lord.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions
It’s time to stop the blame game. When you play the blame game it is always someone else’s fault. When you blame others you’re always the victim and not responsible for your actions. When you blame others you’re helpless to change. When you blame others you ensure that things will remain the same.
It’s only when you take responsibility for your own actions that things can begin to change. You have absolutely no control over what others do, you only have control over what you choose to do.
I know that terrible things happen to people every day. There are rapes, murders, incest, physical abuse, thefts, slander, betrayals, divorces, and host of other things that cause damage in a person's life.
When these types of things happen, you have a choice to make. You are not helpless. You do not have to remain a victim. You do not have to be permanently shaped by the things that have happened in your life.
There are other options than bitterness, hatred, anger, revenge, fear, worthlessness, guilt, shame, or condemnation. You can choose to make choices that will bring life rather than death.
When I talk like this I always hear in the back of my mind someone saying, sure Terry, you don't know what they did to me. You don’t know the pain and heartache I have experienced. You don't have a clue what I’ve been through. If you did, you would never say what you are saying to me.
Over the past thirty-nine years of being a believer, I have heard many terrible stories of things that people have endured. Terrible things. Things that should never have happened. Horrific things beyond my imagination.
Two Types of Victims
The English language is wonderful but sometimes we use the same word that has two very different meanings. I recently looked up the word love and it had over twenty meanings. That is why it is important to define the terms that we are using so we can both be on the same page as to what we are talking about.
I want to clarify the use of the word victim. It will help us understand what I am talking about when I say that even though we are a victim we do not have to remain a victim.
The first meaning for victim has to do with something happening to a person from an outside force. You can be a victim of a crime: someone robs you, rapes you, abuses you, tricks you. You are a victim of someone else’s sin.
The second meaning of victim has to do with remaining that way for an indefinite period of time. This type of victim believes they deserve what they get. This type of victim says, “My husband left twenty years ago and I’ll never be loved by another man. I’m unlovable.” A victim mindset says, “I was abused as a child and everyone in my life will always abuse me. I guess it’s just my lot in life.”
Two Victims of World War Two
Let’s look at the story of two people who were victims of World War II. Both of them saw loved ones killed and experienced terrible things at the hands of the Nazis. One remained a victim for the rest of his life; the other made choices that freed her from being a lifelong victim.
Yitzhak Zuckerman was a Polish Jew who was part of the Zionist movement in Poland. He was captured by the Germans brought to a work camp and forced to dig canals and clear swampland.
The conditions were rough. Ten people a day were dying from starvation and being overworked. Others were being shot because the Germans thought they were trying to escape. People would be sitting there talking to you and suddenly die.
The situation was horrific. Yitzhak constantly thought that he was going to die. Before he did he was able to bribe a guard and escape. He became an organizer in the Polish resistance.
The Germans began shipping out 5,000 Jews a day from the Ghetto in Warsaw to Treblinka to be gassed to death. He helped organize the resistance and sought to help people out of the Ghettos through the sewers. The horror of it all had a traumatic effect on his life.
After the war, he began to drink and continued to experience deep mental anguish. He was so filled with bitterness over the events he endured that he told an interviewer, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you.”
Corrie ten Boom
Corrie lived in Holland when the Nazis invaded in May of 1940. In May of 1942, the family began hiding Jews and members of the Dutch Resistance in their home. An architect came to their home and built a hidden room. It worked well.
On February 28, 1944, a Dutch informant told the Nazis what the ten Booms were doing and they raided their home arresting thirty people. Ten days later her father died. The six people hiding in the secret room were never found and days later escaped to freedom.
After going to trial Corrie, and her older sister, Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. They were treated brutally. Corrie struggled with hating the Nazis, but Betsie always encouraged her to forgive them and put her trust in the Lord.
In December 1944 Betsie died leaving Corrie all alone. But for some strange reason, Corrie was released fifteen days later. She learned later that she was released due to a clerical error and that one week after her release they gassed all of the women her age. She had narrowly escaped death at the hands of the Nazis.
One statement that Corrie recalls Betsie making before her death was, “There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.”
For years after the war, Corrie set up a rehabilitation center to help those who were concentration-camp survivors and for those who were jobless because they collaborated with the Nazis. Then she started speaking about the Lord and her experiences in over sixty nations. During one of her talks, she had an experience where she met one of the German soldiers that had been especially cruel.
Watch the video or read Corrie’s story below
Here is the story in her own words:
When I was in the concentration camp, one of the most terrible things I had to go through was that the stripped us of all our clothes and we had to stand [naked]. The first time was the worst.
I said, “Betsie, I cannot bear this.
And suddenly it was as if I saw Jesus on the cross. And the Bible tells, “They took His garments.” He hanged there naked. And I knew He hanged there for me. For my sins. And by my suffering, I understood a fraction of the suffering of Jesus Christ and it made me so thankful that I could bear my suffering.
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all.
Some people are afraid to look at the cross. Are You? Don't be afraid. The cross is terrible. It’s terrible how Jesus suffered. Not to describe, but you must not be afraid to look at it. For if you have been the only person in the world, Jesus would have suffered for your sins.
At the cross, at the cross
Where I first saw the light
And the burdens of my soul rolled away.
It was there by faith
I received my sight
And now I have guidance every day.
It was some time ago that I was in Berlin. And there came a man to me and said,”Ah, Mis ten Boom, I am glad to see you. Don’t you know me?”
Suddenly, I saw the man, that was one of the most cruel overseers, guards, in the concentration camp.
And the man said, “I am now a Christian. I found the Lord Jesus. I read my Bible and I know there is forgiveness for all the sins of the whole world. Also for my sins. I have forgiveness for the cruelties I have done. But then, I have asked God’s grace for an opportunity that I could ask one of my very victims for forgiveness. Frauline ten Boom, once and you’re forgiven. Will you forgive me?
And I could not.
I remember the suffering of my dying sister [Betsie] through him. But when I saw that I could not forgive, suddenly I knew, I myself had no forgiveness. Do you know that Jesus said that? When you do not forgive those who have sinned against you, my Heavenly Father will not forgive you your sins [Mt. 6:15]. And I knew, Oh, I am not ready for Jesus Christ to come real quick for I have no forgiveness for my sins.
And I was not able. I could not. I could only hate him.
And I took one of these beautiful texts, one of these boundless resources, Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.”
And I said, “Thank you Jesus that you have brought into my heart God’s love through the Holy Spirit who is given to me. And thank you, Father, that Your love is stronger than my hatred and unforgiveness.
That same moment, I was free. I could say, “Brother, give me your hand.” And I shook hands with him. And it was as if I felt God’s love stream through my arms. You’ve never touched so the ocean of God’s love as that you are forgiving your enemies.
Can you forgive?
I can't either.
But He can.
Both stories are powerful. Both stories are possible in your life. The best part of the story is that you have an opportunity to choose life as God intends it to be.You do not have to be a victim your whole life and have a heart filled with bitterness and poison. You can choose God’s way.
Both Yitzhak and Corrie were bound in hatred by the tragic events that took place in their lives.One remained a victim even though he was free. The other left victimhood behind as she chose God’s way of victory.
Today is the day of God’s salvation. Make the choice today to walk in the power of God’s love. Reject the role of victim and embrace the life that God has for you today.
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