All of us try to shift blame away from ourselves. Why do we do it? Our tendency to blame is connected to our beliefs about failure and punishment.
When we talk about being powerful people, we come into direct opposition when we blame, which is to project out responsibility rather than to understand that responsibility starts right here.
Classically we end up avoiding any evidence of failure in our life because once failure shows up in our lives; we think we deserve to be punished. And so the idea of avoiding punishment is something that keeps us on this treadmill of looking for someplace out there to assign who needs to be punished, what needs to be punished, and we don’t take responsibility.
Failure is helpful
Failure is helpful. Failure is not fatal. Failure is generally how we learn things. So going through our lives trying to avoid failing is really going through our lives trying to avoid learning.
The greatest changes we will ever make in our lives will probably come on the other side of a failure. They’re so painful that we don’t want to ever do that again.
When we compare our lives to others highlights, we feel less than and that’s the goal of shame. It’s to set us up to believe that we’re going to lose something. We’re going to lose freedom. We’re going to lose power. We’re going to lose influence. We’re going to lose authority.
We believe that if you get caught being someone with failure in your life, you’re going to lose stuff. And so we blame other people so we can avoid the loss. So we blame to avoid being punished.
We can’t believe the idea that we are somebody’s punisher because we are not anybody’s punisher, because Jesus is not someone’s punisher. We don’t have permission to be somebody’s punisher. Jesus isn’t here to punish my sin. I’m not here to punish your sin. And you’re not here to punish my sin. You’re not here to punish other people’s failures.
Instead we should be there to help others put those failings to work for their benefit. What are they? What are the mistakes? Where are the areas that we need to grow? We shouldn’t be afraid to be known. We shouldn’t be afraid to step into the light.
An excellent spirit is our goal, not perfection. We should be motivated towards an excellent spirit; not motivated to avoid punishment.
Blame shifts our power to change away from us
Blaming someone is like saying “Here, you now have the power for me to change. I can’t change until you do. Until you say you’re sorry, I’m not saying I’m sorry. Until you love me, I can’t love you. Until you change the way you talk, I can’t stop being disrespectful to you.” You have my power to change. That’s the power of blame. That’s the deception of the blame game. I’ve put onto you my power. It’s not true. It feels true. Lots of people do it. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s a lie. Truth is I’m powerful in all my relationships.
Powerful people will manage themselves regardless of what other people decide to do.