A friend at work recently shared this funny story about her five-year-old son.
Funny also is the fact that he has never admitted to being the one who did the deed. I do this sometimes. Well, I don’t pee in my bed, at least I haven’t in a long time, but I do things to myself that I like to blame on other people.
Do you do this, too? We can blame others all day for the situations we find ourselves in or for the very way we are as a person. We look this way and that for the next person to blame. We point fingers at our parents, spouses, bosses, and others. How many of us want to look closely enough to see that it is often our own finger on the trigger of the gun that just shot our foot.
Yet there is a blessing in being able to take responsibility for our own mistakes and shortcomings. It’s the first step in the growth process.
Unfortunately, it’s the hardest step and sometimes I just find it easier to blame someone else. Then it’s not me that needs to change, it’s someone else’s deal.
It’s hard to admit that sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
My husband once preached a great message about taking personal responsibility for our own shortcomings. He talked about how when Saul, King of Israel, was told by God to completely obliterate the Amalekites. They were enemies of Israel, and allowing anything to remain from their society would have been detrimental to Israel. Well Saul mostly did what he was told… but he decided to keep a few really nice things. All of which he really wanted for himself. When Saul was confronted with his error, he didn’t own it. He blame shifted. He blamed the people of Israel, saying it was the people that kept those things, not him. (All the while the Amalek sheep are bleating behind him and giving him away.) Eventually, Saul was the author of his own demise.
In contrast was King David. David was King, all right. Sometimes he was the King of screw-ups. But he knew where to rest the blame. Take a look at Psalm 51: (I added the emphasis)
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Maybe our struggle in accepting blame for ourselves is a way to keep up appearances. Sometimes I am so good at it that I can fool even me.
We may fool others and ourselves sometimes, but God is not fooled. And you know what? It’s okay to admit we peed the bed…. so to speak. King David was a man after God’s own heart, and he was far from perfect. What he was, was willing to open himself up before the God who loved him so, so that he could be changed. Check this out:
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
I’m learning that God is not disappointed in me for my shortcomings, even when they land me in a pickle. But when I am willing to admit my failings, He is ready and willing to make up for them. And then I grow.