Identity – The Blame Game

23 10 2008

The newest series at The C.O.R.E. is entitled “Identity: The Search for Significance” which is based on Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance – Student Edition, 2003 [W Publishing – based on The Search for Significance, 1998]. The substance of this post comes directly from or is based on the content of the book.

Week 1 – The Performance Trap

Week 2 – The Approval Addict

Ask yourself: When I see someone else suffering, do I wonder what they did to deserve it? When something goes wrong, do you catch yourself thinking that God must be punishing you for something you have done? Do you get angry with God when someone who is bad gets rewarded with success?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then you are playing the Blame Game.

We each carry a powerful weapon everywhere we go: our ability to send a message of condemnation or blame to another person using words, physical force, facial expressions, or silence. It says, “I’ll make you sorry for what you did.”

Life has taught us that those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be judged.

But we all fail. None of us measure up to the standards our culture pushes for beauty, talent, intelligence, popularity and success.

While parents and pastors are concerned about the effects of watching excessive violence in movies and videos, no one seems to notice the burn of violent words and labels shot at you every day in real life by your parents or peers. Life isn’t fair.

The fear of rejection and ridicule causes people to switch into survival mode. Every man for himself. We keep the condemnation and blame away from our own fragile self-esteems by aiming the abuse at someone else.

Parents shape their children’s lives with the influences and ideas that were poured into them. They get mad and blame their kids when they make a mistake because, in their minds, their success as a parent is tied to what their children do. Chances are, if parents didn’t get much verbal encouragement or support as kids, they probably don’t know how to show it to their children now and they won’t know how to break the cycle of blame and condemnation, unless they have a breakthrough experience that exposes the deadly lies and opens us up to the truth about who we are. If things don’t change, we could injure many people we love with these same weapons of blame and condemnation.

When we make mistakes we wonder what is wrong and who is to blame. When we can’t find the answer, sometimes we start assuming the problem must be rooted in who we are and what we have done. Too many of us operate on the theory that if we punish ourselves enough, then God will not have to punish us.

If we believe that what we do [The Performance Trap], how popular we are, and what other people think of us [The Approval Addict] are the standards for “success,” then we are going to feel okay about condemning those who fall short of that mark, including ourselves. We must stop blaming others and forgive.

God is the only one who has a legitimate reason to condemn us. God sets the standard for what is right and wrong. For Him to overlook one sin would pollute His holiness, like smearing a beautiful white dress with black tar. GOOD NEWS! Jesus’ death on the cross appeased God and made amends with Him for the sins of everyone in the world.

Romans 5:7-11 – Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Our status with God isn’t based on the good things we do or how many mistakes we make.

John 3:17: God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

The way God handles our failure is through forgiveness and total acceptance. And He then expects us to give the same. We have all been hurt by others – either by what they have said or done. God’s love teaches us by example to forgive others.

I John 4:9-11 – God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

We have worth because God loves us.

Here are some steps to take when you find yourself playing the Blame Game:

First, we should look at what we want to do to people who hurt us. Is it revenge or forgiveness?

Second, God challenges us not to blame others when they fail.

Third, God has one job that He doesn’t want us to do. He doesn’t need us to speak for Him. Judgment is God’s responsibility alone.

The woman caught in adultery.

John 8:1-11 – Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Throwing stones of blame and punishment is not your job. Even Jesus didn’t condemn the woman CAUGHT in adultery. He was the only one who had the right and He CHOSE instead to forgive and love! HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!

We know the truth about who we really are, our bad habits and our long list of failures. What’s more, God knows about them too. And yet He chooses to forgive when we ask. Have you ever felt like a failure as a Christian? God wants to use you even in your failures. It just goes to show both us and others that God is in the business of love, mercy and forgiveness. Let’s share it.

Next week: Identity – Shame

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