Some wise person once remarked that blaming others would keep us the same. It’s true. One sure fire way to not take responsibility and to not change is to continually blame others for everything that comes our way. While we all engage in this practice at times, it simply cannot be the way we live our lives. Truthfully, others do not have the power to cause you anxiety, anger or any other feeling because our feelings are a result of our thoughts and our thoughts are a result of how we are interpreting our environment.
Our reactions will always be connected to what we tell ourselves about any given incident, conversation, run-in with our boss or spouse. Counselor Ed Smith wrote, “We feel what we believe.” That little statement is pretty powerful when attempting to make change in our lives. While blame shifts our need to change onto others, I eventually need to ask myself why I react the way I do. In other words, rather than blaming someone else, I listen to my thoughts in an effort to understand my emotional response. Then secondly, is my response based upon a lie from my past or the truth?
In a devotional time the other day, I was reading about Paul the Apostle’s questioning before the Sanhedrin in Acts chapter 23. Ananias ordered Paul to be struck and then Paul immediately snapped, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” (v. 3) When Paul was told that he was actually insulting “God’s high priest,” he just as quickly apologized, as he desired to follow the scripture which admonishes us to not speak evil of rulers.
Paul’s initial reaction was based on what he felt to be an injustice and responded in kind. However, when he remembered what he knew to be truth taught to him by the Scriptures, he apologized for his actions. The truth will do that and if Paul could learn that process, so can we.
Father, help us (me) to stop blaming and start changing.