By Nancy Virden (c) 2020
It took decades before I saw blame as a destroyer of emotional health. Well, to be honest, it took that long to see it destroying me. Blame is a heavy burden.
If no one cheers me on, I cannot succeed. If it weren’t for so-n-so I would be happy right now. I wouldn’t have to lie if my parents would only say yes. I was abused, so I abuse. I will not trust God because church-goers are hypocrites. I’ll be late because all the other drivers are idiots.
Straight out, let’s admit that innumerable circumstances and consequences that cause suffering are the faults of others. It is not our responsibility to carry guilt for events we do not control. This includes terrible acts people commit against us and how we feel emotionally or physically in the moment. Responsibility does not mean believing the abuser’s lies that we caused the abuse or hating the child or victim-adult we once were for allowing what we had no power to stop.*
The type of blame I am referring to in this post is simply laying responsibility for our choices onto someone else or even on a circumstance. When expectations for life go unmet, blame pushes the burden of change elsewhere. Blame is an efficient means of skipping guard duty over our own wellbeing.
Casting blame may feel good in a moment because it instantly relieves shame. It is not sustainable. Before long we have to work harder and harder at rationalization, denial, or outright lying. We may take on controlling or enabling behaviors in attempts at forcing the world to make us happy. In worst-case scenarios, resentment, hatred, and thoughts of revenge can consume us.
All blame does is form a chain that wraps around our minds until we are barely free to understand the truth.
Good news! God knows!
God knows what’s up in our hearts before we do. Because he loves us, he offers insight and support which sets us free to live our best life.
John, one of Jesus’ disciples wrote, “This is the message we have heard from [Jesus] and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all…” (1 John 1:5).
The darkness he was describing is the curtain that falls over our eyes when we do not want to know about our character defects or sins. Temporarily, denial and blame seem more comfortable.
Blame holds us back. As long as we believe someone else has to change before we can, we do not have to move. Yet John goes on to say, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8). The term sin covers wrongdoing of any kind including blame. Galatians 6:5 reads, “For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”
I felt empowered when I shed blame. No longer was I stuck! God brought me clarity through wise counsel and his Word, the Bible. As I confess blaming, he forgives me and renews my heart.
John 1:5 promises each of us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” Once we have allowed light to shine on us, our thoughts can change from it’s all their fault to I am free to move beyond the past.
Today’s Helpful Word
Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation. Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
*We are not always capable of responding the way we want. (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can bring out a variety of automatic self-defense mechanisms for one example. There are countless others.) We cannot always change what happens to us but we have the power to learn over time how to address our reactions.