Blame: from Government Shut Down to Life…


It’s automatic isn’t it?  There is this feeling we have.  Deep.  Inside us.  Powerful emotions get triggered and we feel threatened, angry, afraid.  

Somewhere along the way in life, we don’t get what we want.  Our children don’t behave the way we want. We don’t get the promotion we want. The driver in front goes slower than we want. The train comes at a time we don’t want. We are later to a meeting than we want. The girl we want to date says “no” (not in my case, of course, she said “yes” even after praying I wouldn’t ask her out…). Somewhere along the way in life we don’t get what we want and deep emotions are stirred.  The Senate and the President won’t budge on healthcare and the House won’t budge on not funding it.  The government shuts down.  We don’t get what we want.

So – what do we do with those deep feelings?

Let’s be honest, we don’t like feeling those deep negative emotions.  I know people deeply passionate on both sides of the whole budget/obamacare issue.  They are feeling deep negative emotions.  And I know if I ask them, they will tell me they don’t like feeling the way they do.  

When we feel deep negative emotions about people or circumstances we want to do something with those feelings.  We feel like a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke that has been shaken for hours and has also had a roll of Mentos dropped in (try it, it’s fun!).  We feel so deeply and powerfully that we find we need to off load those feelings.

Blaming is how we often deal with our negative emotions

Our children don’t do what we want, others see it, we are embarrassed (because they behaved like children?) and so we blame. The traffic runs slow or the train stops us in our tracks and we are late for work – in order not to look bad, we blame the drivers and train.  We are late for the meeting because the elevator stopped on every floor.  

We blame.  We blame our children, the people around us and the circumstances around us. We off load our negative feelings by pushing the responsibility away from ourselves.

Politicians blame too!

The House is blaming the Senate. The Senate is blaming the House. The President is blaming the House.  The Republicans blame the Democrats and the Democrats blame the Republicans.  

There is an interesting phenomenon taking place in our brains when we feel strong negative feelings.  Chemicals are released that help us become more reactive and less responsive.  In other words, we don’t think very well when we are engulfed in negative feelings.  I have a friend who says we become stupid.  I think I agree.

Blaming keeps us stuck in a pattern of compromised thinking.  Blaming keeps us in a cycle of feeling negative emotions toward others or the circumstances we are faced with because we continue to highlight the negative role they are playing, which keeps us trapped in thinking about how miserable they are making us feel, etc…

We blame too!  We are doing it today.  Depending on what you want, you are blaming somebody for the government shut-down.  You either blame the House for trying to defund Obamacare, or you blame the Senate & the President for not being willing to budge. 

When I am blaming others for the circumstances I don’t like, I am not thinking….very well. When I am stuck not thinking very well, I am not taking responsibility.  

Our elected officials carry a lot of responsibility but are not living into that responsibility when they are playing the Blame Game.

We carry a lot of responsibility too.  And we are not living into that responsibility when we play the Blame Game.  

Interestingly, I think we carry as much, or maybe even more, responsibility for where we are as a country than those in Washington.  We not only live within a system, but are deeply part of that system.  And as part of that system, we have elected Senators, Representatives and Presidents.  We have placed them in office and then blamed them when “Washington doesn’t work the way we want.”  

We put the Representatives into the House, we put the Senators into the Senate and we put the President into the White House; and yet we expect a different result than the one we are currently getting? I am part of that “we.” 

The kind of people we elect to office matters!

I am a part of this world and I deeply believe that how I live either helps bring the Kingdom of God, or the Shalom of God, to bear in a way that restores and reconciles places of brokenness; or I am contributing to that brokenness.

I can contribute to the brokenness of a dysfunctional government by letting my anger or fear drive me to blame; or I can take responsibility.

I wonder what it looks like to take responsibility for big things when I don’t feel I have the capacity?

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