Ever seen a movie or television show with shapeshifters? I’m beyond fascinated with them. My husband and I watched a television show for a few years (before FOX pulled the plug) that heavily featured shapeshifters. One was a lovely red-haired lady who could shift into anything at will. I’m not sure why, but it blew my little mind every single time.
Blame shifters are kind of like shapeshifters. But nowhere near as entertaining. A blame shifter will, the instant something goes wrong, try to shift the entire situation around and put someone else in the hot seat. I don’t get that. Why go through all the trouble and drama? Just say, “I blew it.” So much easier. Sadly, as with many things in life, few people take the easy route.
And it’s been that way since the beginning of time.
The world’s first blame shifters were Adam and Eve. The first two humans ever created became the first two humans ever to shift blame rather than accepting blame. How appropriate is that?
After Eve just had to havethe forbidden fruit, God knew that she and Adam had done a bad, bad thing. (Come on, really, how are you going to keep something from God?! Hope that He’s looking the other way and not listening?)
God: You took fruit from the one tree in the world you weren’t supposed to touch.
Eve: The snake made me do it.
Adam: The woman made me do it. What’s more, er… well, Sir, you gave her to me.
We owe a huge debt to God that He didn’t just wipe humans off the face of the earth at that point and just go with animals and plants. He could have put out a giant recall notice: Faulty reasoning!
How cool would Eve had been if she’d just said, “I became obsessed with the thought of that tree and its fruit. I couldn’t get my mind off of it. I put myself in a terrible position and I disobeyed you. I am horrifically sorry.” She thought she’d just go with shifting blame to the snake.
But Adam is, in my humble opinion, the biggest player in the blame shifting game…. and that’s anything but a good thing. He didn’t just point his finger instinctively at Eve, he went on to pretty much point out that God’s the one who gave Eve to him! It’s almost as if he threw up his hands and insinuated that God and Eve owed him somewhat of an apology.
Again, I’m very thankful that the aerial view of the world today shows houses, buildings, cars, and humans. If not for our Creator’s patience and grace, the view would show nothing but trees, elephants, giraffes, eagles, and so on.
Before we come down too hard on Eve’s blame shifting, we might want to look in the mirror for a minute. Even more alarming, we might want to look in the mirror before we cast any stones at ole Adam. Think about it. Have you ever blamed God for a situation? Of course you have. We all have been certain, at one time or another, that He was out to get us. Whether it was after a really foul day, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a dream home, or a beautiful dream that went up in smoke.
Truth be told, we were probably solely responsible for whatever befell us. Either through foolish spending habits, poor choices, or terrible decision-making. When we come to the end of the month with fewer dollars in our pocket than our cat has in her pocket, it’s not God’s fault. It’s ours.
If we have a relationship that falls apart – it isn’t God’s fault. The fault lies in the people involved in the relationship.
You see what I’m saying, and I’m sure that you understand now why we can’t be too hard on Adam. We’re just as outrageously guilty.
One of my pet peeves in the whole world is blame shifting. Truth be told, if I didn’t find it so ridiculously funny most of the time, it’d make me mad enough to scream. Fortunately, blame shifters are usually pretty humorous. Watch them. The second something goes wrong, they instinctively throw the blame on someone else – usually on the person closest to them.
- They spill a drink down the front of their top…. the server filled it too dang high! Never mind the fact that she filled everyone else’s glasses in the restaurant and they’re all walking out with dry tops. Why not simply make a joke out of the situation? Laugh it off and realize that maybe you need to slow down and watch what you’re doing. If the glass was incredibly full, didn’t you realize that BEFORE it made it all the way to your lips?!
- They can’t afford something they’d like to have…. Obama! Bush! War! Wife! Why throw blame on anyone? Just be an adult and realize that that’s life – and, if you’re somewhere comfortable and reading this right now, you’re far luckier and far more blessed than most of the people in the world. Many times, like Eve and her vile friend the snake, we have a legitimate point when we throw blame. But what’s the point? If I want a new dining room table but can’t afford it right now – listing off every politician who has been in office over the past 10 years isn’t going to make me feel any better and it isn’t going to put a new dining room table in my dining room. It’s just going to spill venom and negativity out into a world that has more than its share. Wouldn’t it be smarter to just remain calm, level-headed, and come up with a plan to put in motion? Operation: Dining Room Table before Thanksgiving.
- A bad day at the office means that their co-workers are “losers” and the boss is a “jerk.” Instead of shifting blame at work when things don’t go your way, take an honest look at what you could have done differently. Are you relying on others too much instead of relying entirely on yourself? Don’t worry about them and what they do or don’t do – take care of your own work and your own responsibilities. If you want them to work harder, set the example.
- A college exam didn’t go as well as hoped for…. stupid test! Professor Doom! Granted, some instructors seem to be sadistic when writing up exams and there are those who betray what they’ve told the class. However, more times than not, if you don’t know the answers to the questions it’s because you didn’t study as often as you should. Too much time was devoted to television or games that would have been better spent somewhere quiet – just you and your textbook and notes. Preparation leads to success.
- Someone’s weight is out of control… it’s everyone’s fault except the one with the fork in their hand. True story. About a month ago, I was waiting in line at Starbucks (my home sweet home away from home sweet home). Two really, really large ladies were in front of me. Bless them, they were very, very big girls. They looked like they could be contestants on The Biggest Loser IF THEY LOST A LITTLE WEIGHT. Yes, large girls. They were also angry girls. They were griping about the weather, the fact that small drinks are called “Tall,” the fact that Venti is a size option (I SO wanted to ask them what difference any of this made, but I just stood in the shade of their grumpiness), the weather and so on. They compared horror stories about their kids, how that they “had” to take them out for fast food everyday and that it was piling up pounds on the entire family. Then they railed against this part of the country and how that, if they lived further north, they would never even have a weight problem. They could wear what they wanted to, wouldn’t have trouble breathing or walking up stairs, and so on. Then they stepped up and each ordered Venti fraps (one even wanted extra whipped topping on top). Yeah, it’s the South.
- Their kids misbehave and/or talk back…. it’s all thanks to the school system, television, and the music they listen to. I’ll be the first to admit that different influences influence children (go figure – that’s why they’re called influences) but you’ve heard the saying, “The buck stops here.” When it comes to parenting, the buck truly does stop here. Stop blame shifting and accept responsibility for your own kids.
Blame shifting is a waste of energy and time. It also tends to make one look like a baboon. Never a good thing, unless you’re a baboon. It’s also counterproductive. Think about the ladies in Starbucks. If they quit blaming everyone, including Mother Nature, they’d realize the cold, honest truth: Bad choices. Then they could begin making better choices and turn their whole world around.
Watch yourself over the next couple of days. See how many times you point your finger at other people and how many times you instinctively bring up other people’s names when things go wrong. You may be amazed to find that you are, in fact, a blame shifter. If that’s the case, be happy. Seriously, celebrate because t’ll be the easiest step in your self growth journey that you ever take. It’s one of those traits that, once you realize your tendency to do it, you’ll be able to overcome it relatively easily.
As long as you don’t blame someone else for it.