Saturday, March 20

Stop the blame game!

Scripture: Deuteronomy 3-4, Psalm 34, Matthew 20

Deuteronomy 3:26  But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”

Observation

So much good stuff in these chapters, and I landed on a very minor observation: Moses blamed the people for his being barred from the Promised Land.  “Because of you,” he says.  He also said it earlier in:

Deuteronomy 1:37 Because of you the Lord became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either.”

But in fact Moses was forbidden to enter because of his failure, not the people’s.

Numbers 20:12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

Moses said to the people, “Because of you, I can’t go in.”  But God had said to Moses, “Because you did not trust me and honor me, you will not go in.” 

Classic example of shifting blame!  And this from one of the finest leaders in Israel’s history!

When God confronted Adam and Eve about eating the forbidden fruit, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.  And from that day to this, we look for someone else to blame rather than owning our failures.

Application

Simple application: own your stuff.  Admit it when you’re wrong.  Stop the blame game and simply confess your sin.  “I did it.  I was wrong.” Owning up is honest and disarming.  Here’s a great example:

In 1980 New York City Mayor Ed Koch appeared on a local news program in the middle of the city’s financial crisis. Koch had spent over a quarter of a million dollars constructing  bike lanes in Manhattan, and they turned out to be a disaster. Cars were driving in the bike lanes, pedestrians were walking in the them, and bikers were getting crowded out. It was a mess and many people in New York were irate about it. Koch was coming up for re-election, so a handful of journalists cornered him on this show, planning to tear him to pieces for spending money so foolishly when the city was nearly broke. One reporter said, “Mayor, in light of the financial difficulties New York City is facing, how could you possibly justify wasting $300,000 on bike lanes?” The stage was set for a half-hour confrontation. Instead, Koch said, “It was a terrible idea. I thought it would work, but it didn’t. It was one of the worst mistakes I ever made.” Then he stopped. None of the journalists knew what to say or do. They were expecting him to squirm and make excuses, but he didn’t even try. Another journalist stammered and said, “But Mayor Koch, how could you do this?” Koch said, “I already told you. It was a stupid idea. It didn’t work.” Then he stopped. There was still 26 minutes left to go on the news show, and the reporters had to find something else to talk about. The last thing they expected that day was for the mayor to take responsibility for his actions. Ultimately, of course, Koch went on to receive both the Democratic and the Republican endorsements for re-election.

He just owned it…imagine if we all did that instead of blaming others.

Prayer: Lord, help me to admit my sin, my weakness, my failure rather than blaming anyone else.