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“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:4-5 (NIV)
Game shows abound on the television sets across America. Some have been around for a long time. ‘The Price is Right‘, ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?‘ just to name a few of the most popular. The audience and contestants both enjoy playing the game if the look on their faces is any indication. Growing up as a child we would play made up games around the neighborhood. In fact playing games is a big part of growing up.
Adults play games as well. These may not be the familiar board games of our childhood but they are games none-the-less. A recent addition to the Television game show roster is the “Blame game.” The rules are simple enough that even a child can play it. In fact it is during our formative years that we learn how to play this game. The better we get at playing the game the more mischief we can achieve without getting caught. Who does not remember the “Not me” response most kids learn when asked who had done something. Johnny did you break this glass? I didn’t do it mommy? Well who did? I don’t know. I do not know seemed to get blamed for a lot of mishaps around our house when I was growing up. Unless of course a snitch lives in your house. The mole, the back stabber, the person who would be the first to run to mom or dad and tell on you. They were never the favorites in any misadventure. They were the tattle tale. The truth teller if you will. They were the ones who would expose our falsehood with the truth. The biggest enemy of a lie is the truth. Therefore those who like to play the “Blame game” avoid the truth at all cost.
Human nature has within it the innate desire to point the finger at someone else for it’s misadventures. Adam blamed God for giving him that woman. Eve blamed her fall on the serpent who tempted her. We blame others for our own shortcomings.
All last week we have been unable to escape this new game show as all the news outlets continually ran the story of the Tucson shooting incident. To listen to the commentators one would get the impression that anyone who listens to “talk radio”, supports Sarah Palin, is a member of a local TEA party, is conservative in their political ideology, or opposed to the Obama administration are all responsible for the shooting in Tucson. Not once did these original commentators blame the actual shooter for the offense.
Immediately Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, started to point the finger of blame at Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin although there was absolutely no evidence that either of these national figures had anything to do with the shooting. All the networks ran with this story line and as of today have yet to apologize to all of us who by inference became victims of this “blame game.”
Although the Pima County Sheriff’s office had a history of encounters with the shooter, the sheriff was not indicated in anyway as being responsible for the shooting since they did nothing to stop the disturbed behavior of the suspect now in custody. There were numerous reports of the shooters erratic behavior for several years leading up to this event, and yet nothing was done. Instead fingers were pointed in many directions accusing the innocent of being accomplices after the fact, while all the while excusing the actions of the actual perpetrator. It was like he had no choice but to do what he did because of the actions of others. And the blame game continues even today.
Pointing the finger may not be new but God wants us to take responsibility for our own actions. We need to admit that we are miscreants by nature and in need of saving ourselves from ourselves. If we are left to our own desires we will surely come to ruin. For we just like the original inhabitants of this third rock from the sun are unable to resist temptation. We need an an advocate to free us from the effects of sin. Jesus came to rescue us from ourselves. He came as the truth teller, to set us free from the results of the “blame game”. He forces us to face the truth, and admit our involvement in our misadventures. He forces us to face our own shortcomings and take responsibility for our own actions and choices. He forces us to point the finger of blame right were it belongs, our own sinfulness and shortcomings.
Satan is the original finger pointer, the accuser of the brethren, the original host of the ‘blame game”. He is the one who attempts to fault find at every opportunity he gets. With him constantly pointing a finger at us we need someone to take our side to come to our defense. Unless of course we just simply point the finger at someone else to take the fall for us. Someone who is weaker and unable to defend themselves. Isn’t that how the “blame game” is supposed to be played?
Well to those of us who call ourselves Christians the answer is found in the gospel according to Matthew where we are admonished to look in the mirror first and take responsibility for our actions before we attempt to point out someone else’s faults. To the news media, and Sheriff Dupnik, this means check out your own actions and responsibility before you attempt to push the blame of your own failings unto someone else. First take the plank of hypocrisy out of your own eye then perhaps you can see more clearly the cause of the others failings. If we all take responsibility for our own actions we will find there is not much room left over to play the “blame game.” Personal responsibility is the antidote to the “blame game.”
Along for the journey