I'm Running Out of People to Blame for My Problems
A Word of Encouragement from Libby Handford
"Libby, I can't believe you're such a dare-devil," a friend said. "I wouldn't think of climbing into an airplane to fly it all by myself."
"It's my Grandmother Cooke's fault," I said. "She lived out in west Texas, and she was absolutely fearless. She delivered the babies and laid out the dead. And on the wall of her back porch she nailed the rattlers of more than a hundred rattle snakes that had threatened her children's safety. I guess I inherited her genes."
"Libby, you're so abrupt on the telephone," a friend observed. "You always say your piece and then hang up."
"It's my daddy's fault," I explain. "He always warned us children, ‘Don't keep the grown-ups waiting.' I'm always afraid that whoever I'm talking to wishes I would hurry up and get off the phone so they can do whatever it is they want to do."
A friend asks, "What's your favorite gourmet recipe?"
"I don't have one," I say. "I don't do recipes. It's my husband's fault. See, one time I decided I needed to cook ‘healthy,' so I ‘fried' the fried chicken in the oven. When we'd finished gnawing on the dry carcass, Walt whispered to me, ‘Honey, next time let's let the Colonel fry the chicken.' I was just fine with that!"
I make light of it, but the truth is, I sometimes honestly do look for a good excuse for something I didn't do well-
-except that I'm about to run out of people to blame.
My children adamantly refuse to take any blame for my foibles, and there's no way I could blame my sweet grandchildren. So it seems I'm being forced to take responsibility for myself for what I do and the decisions I make. I know what you're thinking: "Well, it's about time!"
You and I would agree that our owning up to failure is an essential part of living a productive life. Our culture seems to reinforce our need to blame others: the government, our parents, rich people, schools, law enforcement, or perhaps society itself. But if we do that, then we'll keep doing wrong and be surprised that there are bad consequences!
The Scriptures tell us that even children are responsible for their responses to life situations.
"Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right." Proverbs 20:11
The Israelites complained to the Prophet Ezekiel that God punished them for their parents' sins. "The fathers eat sour grapes," they said, " and the children's teeth are set on edge." But God answered, "You will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son-both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die" (Ezekiel 18:2-4).
God ends the conversation with this passionate reassurance: "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23).
God wants us to acknowledge our failures and our sins. He wants us to find forgiveness because of Christ's death on the cross. What a wonderful relief it is, not to need excuses for my sin, but to find forgiveness in Christ. How wonderful it is to face every new day confident and without guilt!