The events of the last week hang heavy on my heart. The attack on our nation’s Capitol is an egregious affront to the nature of our republic. Those responsible must face the consequences of their actions.
Beyond the grand stage of national politics, the question of personal responsibility is important. How you take responsibility influences the future of our nation. Certainly, the way each individual votes, campaigns and supports any candidate or issue matters. But the strength of our nation isn’t found in our laws or elected officials. It is an unwavering commitment to take responsibility for ourselves and one another. In this government of, by and for the people — in every relationship you have — will you take responsibility or will you settle for assigning blame?
Blame is easy. She did this because he did that. Someone pushed. You pushed back. They got away with it. Now you feel justified to treat them even worse. History may explain how we got here, but blame is the excuse we use to indulge the worst parts of our nature. If the spirit of our time reveals anything, it’s that finding fault is our favorite form of outrage.
There are so many reasons blame is a problem. Blame divides. It assumes the worst. It amplifies pre-existing conditions. It intensifies self-righteousness. Blame ignores hypocrisy. Blame is indiscriminate. It expands beyond its original target leaving collateral damage that infects others. Blame is never satisfied. Blame never solved a thing.
Blame demonstrates an absolute truth on which we all agree. Humanity is broken by the hurts we have experienced and inflicted on one another. Blame proves our rebellious nature. Every time you cast blame, you call out the apparent sin in others. While blame may identify the problem, it doesn’t offer a solution.
Two truths dispel the subversive dishonesty of blame and you own the rights to both. First, recognize your natural desire. You want justice when someone wrongs you. You want mercy when you wrong someone else. Second, we are all guilty. We’re guilty of acting selfishly, speaking harshly and treating others disrespectfully. Honestly, we are guilty of so much more. Will you take responsibility?
Acknowledging personal guilt isn’t about the pity of failure. It is the first step for justice to be satisfied through mercy. Mercy is what happens when someone else pays the price. That’s precisely what Jesus has done for you. He took responsibility for the wrongs you have done.
In every relationship, instead of blame, will you confess when you are wrong? Will you forgive when someone wrongs you? Will you give what you want to receive? Whatever side of the aisle you are on, let’s take responsibility. If we want better leaders, we must be better people.