“It isn’t my fault!”
Admit it, you have said those words, as have I. We all say them at some point or another. Sometimes they are used accurately, but too often they are used as an excuse, as an exercise in shifting the blame.
I have thought about this several times recently because of articles in the news. One is to do with the current crises facing the newspaper industry. Since the facts of the corruption running through some areas of British journalism have come to light a question has been asked over and over, “Do we have the newspapers we deserve?” One commentator rightly corrected the question, “Do we have the newspapers we desire?”
They ask this question because many newspapers are full of, well, rubbish. They relay all kinds of celebrity tittle-tattle, gossip, and sexual content. Other papers carry real news about world events, personal stories, reports on worthy subjects. Some news papers have a blend.
Do we have the papers we desire? Of course, other wise people would not buy them! No one says, “Well, I’m not interested in so-and-so’s new haircut or the latest bikini pictures of —-, but I’ll buy it because I have to.” Of course not, people buy and read what interests them. So, we do have the papers we deserve.
Today the BBC is reporting that parent’s back the banning of junk food aimed at children. But hang on, how many children who go to bed before 7pm have their own source of independent income. Surely the easiest and surest way to stop a child eating junk food is for the parent’s to not feed it to them or buy it for them?
But here is the common key in both areas. No one wants to take accountability. You would think that was a dirty word the way it has been almost bleeped out of popular thinking.
“I’m not accountable for what I buy and read, the newspapers are! Penalise them!”
“I’m not accountable for what my child eats, the advertisers are! Penalise them!”
“I’m not accountable for the way I spend my money, the banks are! Penalise them!”
And so the song of society continues as it has done since Eden and especially since it was intellectualised by Freud. All of the blame goes on others, all of the credit goes to self to boost our apparently fragile self-esteems. (Do not misunderstand, there are genuine emotional and mental needs that some need to have met, I am not arguing against that here.)
What I want to highlight is the tendency to blame others for our actions. Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed God and so it continues.
The most important thing to realise is that unless a person takes accountability for their own sins, the breaking of God’s laws, and repents and accepts the gift of Christ’s salvation, then they will never be saved.
But for those who know Christ, unless we take accountability for our own actions then we will never grow in Christ as much as we need to.
Hurts and offenses unforgiven may not stop us growing entirely, but they will root us in a point in our past and act as an anchor. We may move on to a degree, but it will be stilted growth and often times will slow us to a complete stop.
Lessons we refuse to learn mean we must constantly go through experiences to get them drilled into us and hinder our growth in the Lord.
Constantly holding others accountable for things we feel should be done differently or better instead of taking action ourselves will cause friction in relationships and hinder fellowship.
So, what do you blame others for? What is something well within your control that you do not take accountability for because it is easier to shift the blame?
Do not make the mistake of taking accountability for yourself and being active in your life instead of simply passive or reactive.