The Blame Trap
“Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:11-12
At our Sunday morning jail Bible study, a buddy and I often meet those inmates who say they’re thankful for jail. They recognize that their lives were a disaster and that they’d never have stopped using drugs without being incarcerated. I was wrong. I needed to be stopped. On the other hand, however, we also meet those inmates who believe they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. They were just minding their own business, when one day, the police simply showed up at their door and threw them in jail. They’ve been victimized by a corrupt system that is out to get them.
I’m sure there are innocent people in jail. That’s not what I’m talking about here. As we listen to these stories, it’s obvious to my buddy and I that these guys aren’t victims. They simply cannot see their own flaws. To them, all those restraining orders and all those restraining order violations were simply misunderstandings. Because it’s a Bible study and recovery meeting, my buddy and I feel some sense of responsibility to try and keep each other accountable, so we point out that which is obvious to us. You at least must consider your own fault in this. It’s not normal to have multiple restraining orders filed against you and you’ve got to know it’s illegal to violate those restraining orders, right? Unable to consider the possibility of responsibility though, they just can’t comprehend their culpability. Nope. I’m totally innocent. It’s everyone else’s fault.
In today’s passage, Adam tried this tactic with God. When confronted about eating the forbidden fruit, it was too painful for Adam to accept responsibility, so he tried to throw Eve under the proverbial bus. It’s the woman’s fault. Blame her.
Blaming others is a defense tactic that makes us feel better in the moment, but like any instant gratification, it solves nothing and makes things worse in the end. As long as we’re victims, then we’ll never be able to address our life problems. We can’t fix anyone else. We can only fix ourselves. Blame is a trap that keeps us focused on that which is beyond our ability to change. It’s only in accepting responsibility and repenting of our self-destructive behavior that we may have any hope to transform our future for the better. Those who’re stuck in the blame trap can never get better as they’ll continue to make the same mistakes for the rest of their lives, forever accusing everyone else for those mistakes.