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Accepting Responsibility

Post written by Ron Cook.

“It’s not my fault!”  How many times have you uttered those words today?  This week?  This month?  This year?  A few years ago I was reading a book and ran across the idea of “blame-shifting.”  Blame shifting is nothing more than seeking to blame someone else for our problems rather than accepting responsibility ourselves.  Blame shifting is a problem, a character problem and it’s been around a long, long time.  How long?  Think Adam and Eve.

“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’   Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” (Genesis 3:12-13 ESV).

You see, starting with the very first human being, Adam, people have attempted to shift blame.

Is blame shifting a problem today?  Have you watched the news lately?  I am constantly amazed at the inability of individuals and groups to take responsibility for their actions.  But I want to bring this issue closer to home.  I want to bring it into your personal life and into your marriage.  Why do you and I attempt to blame our spouses and others for our problems?  I think it goes back to an ancient system of belief that was dominant in the first century.  In the first century world (the world in which the New Testament was written) there was a commonly held belief that there was a limited amount of honor available in the world.  Therefore if I wanted to increase my honor, the only way I could do that would be to shame you and therefore “steal” your honor for myself.  This is commonly referred to today as “honor vs. shame.”  While the concept sounds ancient, think about your own life: do you ever tear someone else down so that you look better?  If you answer that question in the affirmative (and I believe most of us will if we are being honest) let me challenge you to get off the blame train and start looking for ways to accept responsibility.  While you might not have been the only contributor to the problems, take responsibility for what you did contribute.  Is the garbage overflowing because your spouse didn’t take it out?  Accept responsibility that you didn’t take it out either.  Are you late to work because of traffic?  Accept responsibility that you could have left earlier.  I find it to be a very rare occasion that one person in responsible for one hundred percent of a problem so stop focusing on what others have done and instead focus on what YOU have done and what YOU can change!

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