Who's to Blame?

Who's to Blame?

Everyone has had a bad day. Most people have had a bad week. But some people have a bad year or a bad life. One of the questions always raised is "Who is to blame for these bad tidings, experiences, etc.?

Our first reaction is to always look for someone else to blame. It is easiest to think "It's not my fault." As humans, (and popular society encourages this thinking) we are defensive when the 'finger' points toward us. We always want to excuse our actions and look to other reasons.

I have been going through a tough time in getting a new business going. Circumstances have not gone the way I planned or hoped. I have had to ask the question "Who is to blame?" I have come to several conclusions.

1) Life is tough - no one is to blame.
The popular American mindset that has developed over the past 30 years is 'good self-esteem is priority' and one of 'victim hood.' We want everything to be easier; a life of comfort and ease, recreation, comfort and significance are our primary pursuits. The majority of Americans believe happiness is guaranteed in the Constitution, not the 'pursuit of happiness.' Happiness, comfort and positive self-esteem are not guaranteed. Life is hard, tough and people are not guaranteed a fare share. We must come back to this way of thinking. Our forefathers new that life was tough and that settling this country had risks. Many died in the process. Life is never easy and nothing is guaranteed.

2) I am to blame.
Our circumstances are primarily determined by the decisions we make, daily decisions or even down to the minute decisions. I recently saw a video of a pedestrian being hit by a car that came out of nowhere. The obvious thought is that the pedestrian is totally innocent, but the pedestrian chose to walk across the street. Life has risks and every decision I make incorporates some risk. Many people don't want to admit that life has risks and each person's decision has to take the fact of risk into account. If you are hit by another car then it's not your fault, but the fact is that you chose to drive so you are partially at fault. (If you did not drive, then you would not have been there to be hit.) When we blame others, we have a great tendency to sit back and do nothing. We play the victim, "poor me."

When I started this business, a lot of assumptions were made about circumstances and other people's commitments and the risk involved. Several of these commitments did not come to fruition. A lot was promised but very little was delivered. My tendency is to blame the other person for not delivering, but I was the one who made the decision to accept the person's commitment. (I could have done more research or asked more questions to see if their credibility. I assumed they would do what they said with no validation.) I have partial responsibility in things not turning out as planned. I need to accept this fact and get on with working toward a positive solution. Even though others did not deliver, it is my responsibility to do something about it. I can't change other people's behavior, all I can change is my behavior.

3) We all fail in some aspect
Life is full of experiences of failure. The real question is "How do you deal with failure?" I have heard many say that you really have not failed if you have learned from your mistakes and got up off the floor.

Many people wallow in their failure, "lying of the floor" blaming someone else. They repeat this behavior over and over for they have never learned from their mistakes. Typically, a person does not learn from their mistakes when they blame others for the mistakes or consequences. We must accept personal responsibility for problems, deal with them, and move on with our lives. The personal responsibility may be as simple as "I should not have trusted that person until I inquired about their credibility. I won't do that again." or it may be "I need to change my behavior and quit making promises just to please the other person."

Thomas Edison experimented with over 2000 ways to create the light bulb. He did not view his experiments as failures but lessons in what did not work. He learned from each experiment and applied that knowledge to his next experiment.

Life is tough and happiness is not guaranteed. Our lives will be enriched and are actually happier when we accept this truth and learn from it. When faced with failure, see it as a temporary setback, learn from it and move ahead.

Willey Jolley, a motivational speaker, says that "A setback is a setup for a comeback."

Do you view life that way or are you looking for someone to blame?

A life focused on the potential for a positive future is always more enjoyed and happier than a life looking for someone else to blame.

Faith

Many times we go through hardships and cry out "God where are you?" I have gone through that experience this past year. There are several things that I have learned:

1) God uses failures or pain to get our attention. CS Lewis said that pain was God's megaphone to get our attention.

2) God uses tough experiences to refine us. When times are tough, God is using the experience to strengthen us just as steel must be heated and actually beaten to make stronger.

3) God may be using us as an example to demonstrate his faithfulness and glory to someone else who is watching. The story of Job demonstrates this truth.

4) God works in our life to bring glory to himself. Life on earth is very brief in consideration of eternity. God uses this short time to prepare us for heaven, stripping us of attitudes and self-centeredness that inhibits us from having a true relationship with Him.

5) Hard times may actually be a training ground before you are exalted. The story of Joseph in Genesis chapters 38-50 exemplifies this truth.

6)Hard times may come just to draw us closer to God. God wants us to be dependent on Him, not on 'things', work, good circumstances, or anything else. God wants an uninterrupted relationship with you and me. If we have distractions or idols, then He will work to remover those distractions.

Ezekiel 14: 1-10 The leaders approached God and asked God for deliverance from oppression. This is how God replied in verse 6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!'"

An idol is anything that is more important than God in your life: car, wife, kids, sex, work, school, sports, etc. God address the relationship between you and Him before he will address your "wants.'

So, what am I/we to do with this information?

Ask God to help you in several ways: 1) Repent - help you turn from your sin 2) for God to give you wisdom, 3) for God to provide for your needs (not wants) 4) for God to glorify himself in your circumstances 5) for God to change your heart if you have idols that are interfering with your relationship with God. 6) for God to give you a spirit of thanksgiving.
 

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