I know. This is a very loaded word.
My kids do this one a lot. It usually goes something like this:
Me: Boys, who made that stream of water in the hallway?
Aidan: That's not water...Duck did it.
Declan: No, Aidan did!
Even as adults, too often we want to take the credit, but never the blame. It takes a lot of humility to be able to accept blame when responsible for something, and even more so when not responsible.
My brother died about 5 years ago. Many of you know the story, but what you may not know is that one of the first things that I did was yell at God. "Why him?" I screamed, "He suffered so much, so young...he fought for our country...he won souls for You...he was just starting to enjoy life. Couldn't You have done something?"
Of course, blame is one of the natural stages of grief. We need someone or something to hold responsible for our hurt; even if deep down we understand that sometimes life just sucks...we still need a scapegoat.
But even though I knew it was normal, I still felt a little guilty that I pointed the finger at the very One who had held me together through it all.
Last week, I had lunch with a mentor. As we sat and talked, conversation turned to a situation where someone going through a hard time had lashed out at those around them. "It's like...instead of blaming God like the rest of us do when something bad happens, this person is blaming those around them," she said.
Whoa! I had a mind-blowing epiphany through that one simple statement.
It seems we all blame God at some point. Why is that? Is it lack of faith? Or lack of knowledge?
Or...what if it is just the simple fact that we need to put blame on Him in order to maintain fellowship? Think about it...if blame is such a natural response to grief and loss in our lives, wouldn't it stand to reason that some aspect of this exchange is necessary for us to get through the trial?
Us: Why, God? I mean...what were You thinking? I don't even know if I can trust you anymore...
All the while, God knows that these thoughts and feelings are inside of us. Imagine if we had those thoughts and instead of going to Him honestly, we took them and blamed the next person to cross our path. Did anything get accomplished? Did our relationship with the Lord grow? It seems to me that we have only made a bad situation worse by dragging someone else into our funk.
We must have that moment of honesty before God to maintain our fellowship with Him, don't you think? Otherwise, we put the blame on someone else...maybe even multiple someones, denying the real origin of our anger, frustration and ultimately--our hurt. And all this leads to is a whole lot more hurt--and usually not just our own--when we don't deal with our true feelings of who we think is to blame.
Because deep inside, we feel like it was God who let us down.
But, what if we just let it all out to God? Would He really be shocked? Or displeased? If we are honest, and truly want to know the purpose and will of our Father, then our honesty will only help our relationship with Him. As we turn toward Him and release those thoughts, we will find ourselves face to face with the One who will comfort, sustain and mature us through that difficult time. Our anger will begin to subside and we will see that grace has a face...and that the hand of God is extended toward us to show us that grace and not to show us pain.
The God who gave us His Son, gave us everything just to mend our broken bond with Him...what He wants most when we are hurting is to draw us nearer, to have the chance to take our pain on Himself (again) and make us a little more dependent on Him, a little more like Jesus. And that may just require us to throw out all the blame that is inside of us onto Him. I'm confident that He can handle it.