The Blame Game (Article) by Dr. Abidan Paul Shah (Clearview Church, Henderson)
(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on April 23, 2022)
Actions are not random. Words are not random. Thoughts are not random. Feelings are not random. There is a method to the madness of how we act, speak, think, and feel.If we want to see a change in our lives, we must begin by acknowledging our responsibility in the matter. Of course, this is not easy. We would much rather blame our failures on our bad experiences, bad relationships, and bad company, and even on our parents, church, school, and society. It is far more convenient (and popular) to find fault than to face our struggles. Let’s never forget that passing the buck is a byproduct of our sin nature which we inherited from our grandparents, Adam and Eve, and it never helps.
To clarify, refusing to blame does not mean that we have to pretend that the hurts in life are not real or painful. Instead, we must acknowledge them and seek God’s grace and healing. Through godly counsel and biblical wisdom, we can identify the true nature and source of our hurts and lay out the path to wholeness. Sometimes, it will take a while before we begin to see our scars turn into stars. A word of caution here: Bad advice and false wisdom will only cause more pain and prolong recovery. Nonetheless, it’s critical for us to deal with our past because failure to handle it properly will leave us feeling like victims forever. People with the victim mentality give themselves the license to act, speak, think, and feel as they please because they feel justified, and nothing can help them or change their minds.
True change in our actions, words, thoughts, and feelings come when we understand that the source of our problems is within us. At the heart of it all, we are all born dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). We all have a sin nature that actively tries to violate God’s law. Thank God that he has given each of us a conscience, a governor to keep us from going over the speed limit of life. Imagine what the world would be like if all of us were to live to the max of our sinful nature. Unfortunately, our conscience gets worn out or gets recalibrated according to our experiences and values. What we all need is a new birth. God has provided a solution for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
When we accept God’s gift of salvation through Christ, we are made new from the inside out. We are no longer under the wrath of God. We have a new mind and a new desire to love God and obey his word. Unfortunately, the old nature has been crucified but not eradicated. Before long, we start seeing vestiges of our past habits and thoughts. Most of us try to deal with our old nature by trying to suppress it, fight it, deny it, or train it. We are doomed to fail. God deals with our sin nature by making us weaker and weaker, by removing the sinner, and by putting us to death. As Paul reminds us in Romans 6, 6 “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…” We must open the eyes of our heart and see who we are in Christ. We may not feel it or understand it, but we must accept it by faith. Our guide is not our feelings, which is the shallowest part of our nature; nor is it our own thoughts, which are easily influenced by our old life, the world, and Satan. Our guide is the Holy Spirit who helps us as we yield to him. Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Our responsibility is to yield to the Holy Spirit, obey God’s word, keep our eyes on Christ and guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”