COLUMN: We all play the blame game

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By John Lapp

You and I have been bombarded lately with elected government officials, including those at the “top,” with this game being played out before millions of viewers, including this columnist. I have wondered if anyone will be honest enough to admit to wrong decisions having been made, mistakes that we are all aware of or should we continue to hear what we know are lies, half-truths, and officials dodging responsibility?
Watching some of these hearings, questions are asked that should require an answer that makes sense, but often an answer is given that is so wordy that no real answer is given at all.
As a child being raised by my parents, if I was asked a question, I had better make my answer clear, concise and honest or the question would be asked again in much firmer tones, with me knowing, “I’d better not dodge the truth or  I’m in trouble.”
However, this phenomenon being seen on national TV is not a new one. So, when did the game, the actual “blame game” begin? Some of you, maybe most of you, already know the answer, but let’s review it anyway. First of all, it did not begin in recent years, it goes back to the actual beginning of time, as recorded in the book of Genesis, the very first book in Bible.
In the second chapter, in verses 16 and 17, it states “the Lord God commanded the man,” Adam, about the one tree from which he was not to eat anything, but “all the other trees that are pleasant to the sight, and good for food” were given to Adam from which to eat. This command given to Adam took place before the record that God had created “the woman” who Adam in the next chapter “called his wife’s name, Eve.”
Now starts the original, first of its kind “blame game,” if you believe in God’s creation as recorded. A recently purchased book, “It’s Not My Fault,” co-authored in 2007 by renowned Christian psychologists, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, is the main impetus for this week’s column. Although, I have heard this game being used by many of clients over the years. Sometimes it makes sense, but most often it does not, and  usually is used to dodge responsibility for one’s part in a failure of one sort or another.
After both Adam and Eve had partaken of this forbidden tree, God appeared before them and asked each of them a simple, not confusing, question to which each responded by blaming the disobedience onto another source. First, God confronted Adam if he had disobeyed the command given to him, to which Adam conveniently, answered “the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” After Adam, God confronted Eve with “what is it that you have done?” She answered, “the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” So Adam blames his wife, and his wife blames the serpent. I think it sounds like they are both blaming God, one for “the woman” whom God had given to him, and one for the serpent who was speaking. Let’s get to the real point, shall we? All that Adam and Eve were required to do was simply answer the question with “yes, I did eat,” but they chose to dodge the question in its simplicity and attempt to find a way to blame.
God already knew the answer, but put both of them to the test, similar to the questions asked in this era of political inquiry, hoping to find the truth, yet often receiving a long-winded, too often confusing, answer which seems to be fashioned to justify the blame desired by the respondent.
This type of behavior goes on in the world of sports, corporate structures, work places and even in families. I have had thousands of couples in my office and often the “blame game” is offered as a justification for perhaps the desired divorce. That’s not to say, however, that I believe as so often has been stated, “it’s a 50/50 responsibility of both parties for the break-up of a marriage.” I have been more likely to see it as a 60/40, or even a 70/30 percentage with one of them being more responsible than the other, especially in the case of marital infidelity.
I still struggle with ever believing the 50/50 ratio when it comes to the parent/child relationship. It falls on the adult to go the extra length to attempt to have reconciliation with a disobedient, even wayward child.
Thank you for beginning to release yourself from the “blame game” of life, which will eventually begin to produce in you much healthier, more enjoyable years.