Who is to blame?

I read an article this week about an athlete who was blaming the system for abuse in their sport. It got me thinking about blame.

The use of the word ‘blame’ has tripled since about 1980. It turns out blaming is a trend.

What happens when we blame? We use our mental energy to focus on what others have done wrong. We place all the responsibility as to why things have happened on others.

Given that we did not cause it, we do not need to feel guilty or responsible. We can vent our anger at others. We can demand they fix it, and we let ourselves off the hook. If anything, we feel sorry for ourselves because we are the victims of all of this.

This is the opposite of Jesus’ advice. He tells us to look at the log in our eyes before we look at the speck in our brother’s. Jesus’ words acknowledge there is fault on both sides, but our attention is best focused on ourselves. In his letter, Peter tells Christians who suffer unjustly because they are Christians to praise God because the process of purification begins with the household of God.

Of the 60 times, the Bible uses the word ‘blame’ (in the NIV) – 58 uses are about being blameless. The emphasis falls here on looking at ourselves first and keeping our own house in order. God is the only person who blames (Rom 9).

I have come to view blame, on the whole, as a counter-productive feeling. It downplays our contribution, overplays the part of others, positions us to become self-righteous and angry, and disempowers us for action and responsibility.

This week, try to catch yourself in blame mode, then stop. Instead, let us focus on being blameless, and trusting God to vindicate those who do right.

Rev David Rietveld

Senior Minister


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