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The Blame Game

When things go wrong we often want someone to blame. It works for the little things in life. You trip on the pavement and get hurt; there are companies who will figure out who was to blame and try to get you compensation. It works when your car gets smashed into. It’s always someone else’s fault and the last thing we should do, so we are told, is accept responsibility, even if it was our fault. Often with the things that are wrong in society a particular group of people get the blame. The blame game is even played on an international scale. The problems with the global economy are everyone else’s except mine.

It’s most painful when it’s personal. When you or I are at the other end of someone else’s blame. They blame us for what has gone wrong. When this starts happen in a relationship between two people it can be the beginning of the end. A couple start to blame each other for the things that have gone wrong. Loss of a job, a child dying or just unhappiness. Before long words start flying back and forward, words of anger, accusation and blame. It begins with words but they could just as well be stones for the damage they do.

An old story is told of a woman who has been caught in the act with another man. The community’s way of dealing with this is not right. They are quick to cast blame, to find all the things that are wrong in her. They literally want to throw stones at her. So she is hauled before a man who is suppose to give a judgement about what the community should do with her. They are trying to catch him out. But his response turns the tables on them, the stone throwers. Maybe this man understands that in order to catch her in the act, someone must have been watching? He says to the crowd “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” The crowd starts to leave one by one. When all the stone throwers have gone the man turns to the woman and says, “then neither do I condemn you,” but he also invites her to live differently.

The man was Jesus and he shows us that the blame game does not work. Instead he shows us a better way of living. That way is not called blame but grace. His is the kind of grace that does not throw stones at others but it does confront us with who we are and invite us to live differently.

(This article was first published in the Herald Express on Thursday 24th Nov 2011 and can be found here)
Mark Searle, 30/11/2011