Be Careful with Blame

the-blame-game

“The man said, the woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Then the LORD God said to the woman, what is this you have done? The woman said, the serpent deceived me, and I ate…” Gen 3:12-13

As soon as humanity sinned, we quickly refused to take responsibility and then commenced to blame others. This is one of the effects of our sin nature, the rejection of accountability for our actions. This is the attitude, which is so popular today from young people to Presidents. This is also the favorite ammunition for fights in marriage and the way in which most people handle difficult situations and guilt, which is to deflect and blame others.

“My spouse always blames me for the problems in our marriage!” “My spouse just keeps pushing my buttons.” My spouse will not own up to what they did and blames me.”

We do this “deflection” for three primary reasons:

First, we do not want to live with guilt.

Second, we do not want to suffer the consequences of our actions.

Third, we do not want to conflict.

Blaming others is classically called “blame shifting,” which acts like a shield to deflect. It is also like an escape mechanism, similar to an ejection seat, which avoids the consequences by bailing out. However, this is not as effective as most people think, unless you are actually in a fighter jet going down. Freeing the burden of guilt by escaping only puts it off until later. While in the meantime, it grows and spreads out of control, and continues to gnaw away at our conscience and works to destabilize your marriage. So, we accumulate this as ammo in our disagreements that escalates in confrontation and turns into battle, husband against wife.

So, this defense mechanism is actually self-destructive and only makes matters worse. 

While seeking to avoid hurt or fighting, we bring it more. Look at it like an old fashioned scale. As one side of the scale becomes increasingly loaded with the weight of guilt from inaction or misaction. The guilt ridden person just shifts the responsibility to the other side of the scale. And we all do this by blaming, and in marriage, we use this to argue and fight.

There is just one problem with this (okay a lot more problems), the act of blaming instead of taking the responsibility for one’s own actions flies in the face of the Gospel.

It is unjust and serves only to increase the problems we incur in our relationships. And the irony is, this mostly occurs in families that dislike conflict. Then the blaming becomes a habit and then a pattern of dysfunctional behavior that is an endless loop of a hopeless cycle.

In spite of Adam and Eve’s blame shifting, God held them accountable and they suffered the consequences of their disobedience. “To Adam he said, because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you must not eat of it, Cursed is the ground because of you.” Gen 3:17

God not only held Adam responsible for his action, He also held him responsible for listening to the voice of his wife (the influence of others!) instead of listening to the voice of God. His excuse only served to increase his personal responsibility and guilt. We must learn that God does not allow us to avoid the consequences of our actions by blaming others or not taking responsibility in our marriage. In fact, we are held responsible for blaming. We may think we can get away with it, but make no mistake, if we fail to hold each other accountable for our actions, you can be sure that God will hold us responsible.

        “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Romans 14:12-13

       The precepts of God, will enable you to have a magnificent marriage. So, what can I do to stop the blame cycle?

Read these passages: http://www.openbible.info/topics/blaming_others

Calm down and drop it, pray, and walk away if you can’t be kind. Instead of blaming and pointing out faults, focus on what to fix in yourself. As a Christian, you do not need to be in control when God already is!

  1. Calm down and drop it, pray, and walk away if you can’t be kind. Instead of blaming and pointing out faults, focus on what to fix in yourself. As a Christian, you do not need to be in control when God already is!
  2. Try to be mindful of how and why you blame. Then realize when you do, all you are doing is escalating, when you could be resolving conflict.
  3. Do not keep score! In marriage you are not two lawyers battling it out in a courtroom, so you need to keep track of what is said, build your case and use what is said against the other. In marriage, we let it go.
  4. We stop blaming when we replace the bad habit with a good one. Learn to be a better communicator by listening. We best do this by closing our mouth and opening our ears.
  5. Seek to be apologetic to rebuild respect, practice real heartfelt love.
  6. Take the responsibility and make it better, even if your spouse will not.
  7. In a fight? Remember to walk it off. Let it go, pray and make a point to redress when emotions are not escalated.

If you are having trouble with this, see a qualified pastor or counselor to guide you through it.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…” Ephesians 4:26

Forgiveness in Marriage PIV

spouseforgiveIsaiah tells us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9

Ask yourself this question: How do I handle forgiveness?

How do you respond when your spouse forgives you?  What do you do with opportunities that our Lord has for you?

To get forgiveness to work, we must realize the generosity of Grace, and being in Christ, which we do not deserve. Our Lord does not want us to forgive begrudgingly, because, He did not forgive us with conditions, or with strings attached. A Christian that does not forgive is like a small child who refuses to share a game ball that he/she received as a gift. Thus, the child will not be able to play with that ball as it was designed to be used. That child will not be using it to its full potential, nor will there by any fun with it. When we do not forgive in marriage, we distort the relationship. We are like the child who, unable to play a game because they refuse to share the ball, cries that they is alone and nobody will play with them, or, cries because they are not having any fun. Can you see this connection in your home?

Without forgiveness, we forfeit our relationship with who is to be most important to us, and, we are unable to ‘play’ our marriage correctly and lovingly. We just end up cheating ourselves out of our potential, and the best plan that Christ has for us.

Yes, Forgiveness is Hard

True forgiveness is one of the hardest things to accomplish in the human experience, even for the mature Christian. This is why most marriages are struggling. As we get hurt and we then become the hurters, we become a self-imprisoned victim of the escalation of that hurt that could have been stopped by just, I forgive you, and then letting it go!

Forgiveness is our mandate, and call, in life, in church, and in marriage. Yes, this is hard because it demands a surrender of our ‘perceived’ right to get even. Forgiveness even causes upset for the person who was wronged, the victim. Because we feel that the suffering, from our perspective and reasoning, should belong to the other person in the wrong. So, it is natural to consider this unfair. And, yes, it is unfair; as it was unfair for our Lord to go through what He did to forgive us!

But, once the forgiveness is given and received, the hurt can stop and relationship can continue and prosper.

Forgiveness is hard, because we can easily avoid it; we can walk the other way, and execute revenge. Take our hurts and turn them into weapons of hurt. And, it would be considered justified in the eyes of our friends, our relatives, and, especially of society. We could even receive some kind of honor for coming up with a good scheme of revenge.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…”

This passage is telling us that our way of thinking is wrong. If God is the Creator of all things, including Truth, and He is all knowing, and He is all-powerful, then, His ways are better than ours. We may not be able to recognize this, because our perspective is limited, as is our knowledge and insight as well as our foresight that this is a better plan.

When we look to Christ, consider that He is governed by righteousness; whereas, desires and emotions drive us. God has a moral and virtuous purpose; our purpose is self-seeking. He wants the escalation of hurt to stop that is why there is forgiveness.

God’s primary purpose in marriage is to create an environment to grow spiritually, emotionally, relationally to one another and to Him. So, to bring us out of our self-destructive and self-seeking nature, and into the reclamation of redemption in Him; this is the work of Christ. This is the work of His forgiveness to us that He wants us to play forward with our spouse and others.

So next time you have trouble forgiving, remember that God’s thoughts are beyond our comprehension and imagination; therefore, we should rely on Him, and not on ourselves.

(For ongoing hurt, any abuse or dysfunction, please see a qualified counselor. If you feel you are in danger, get out, contact the police.)

What is Faithfulness in Marriage? PII

A love storlove storyy from the Bible 

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” Ruth 4:13

Take a look into the Bible Book of Ruth. It is set in the time of the Judges. The main character is the great grandma to King David. And depicts for us a shadow to Who and what Christ will do, our God as the Redeemer. It also shows us what the ingredients to a great marriage are.

This story follows the adventures of three principle characters, Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. Ruth has just lost her husband and is in a state of loss and confusion. She felt helpless and hopeless, but turned from her false gods to pursue the One True God. Even though she was not a Jew, she remained faithful to God. Naomi was Ruth’s mother-in-law, a Jewess, who was led by family remembrances to go back to her homeland, thereby exercising faith, too. Naomi trusted God even though she sinned against God by leaving her homeland in the first place and marrying a Gentile. God looked beyond her sin and worked it out for good as He does with us. God protected her and Ruth, who is an alien, through many harsh trials and tribulations.

God blessed Ruth’s faithfulness and brought to her a new and better husband, Boaz. God, even allowed her to be in the genealogy of Jesus.

Naomi, at first, was bitter and did not want to take Ruth back with her, but learned about faith and received blessings for her faithfulness, too. Boaz was a relative of Naomi, and culturally, held the position to redeem her, which meant to take care of her, which he did. In the process, both he and Ruth remained faithful to God, and took their time to get to know one another before falling in love.

The Book of Ruth is a must read! It shows us the importance of faith and commitment. And what an enduring marriage filled with love and respect is all about.

Boaz was a man of integrity who had the opportunity to take advantage of a young, pretty widow. Instead, he chose righteousness as he protected Ruth, and looked after her needs. He made an extremely difficult situation easier for her by not seeking his comfort or lust, and, eventually enjoyed a beautiful marriage. If he had chosen the way of the world, he could never have had a good, enduring relationship with Ruth. Ruth, who remained faithful, would also have missed out on the relationship (Ruth 2:20; 3:10-11).

Boaz was the Kinsman-Redeemer for Ruth’s family. This meant he was a close relative whose call and obligation was to come to the aid of a family member in distress. According to Levitical Law, he could redeem the property, family members sold into slavery, assets such as farm animals, and he could care for a widow, or orphans, and such (Leviticus 25:25-34; 27:9-33). However, in practice, this rarely occurred, because greed usually took over and people took advantage of the weak and helpless. This is one of the main reasons God judged the Israelites and sent them into captivity, as found in the book of Jeremiah.

In the New Testament, Christ is our ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer, as He represents humanity and our bloodline (Mathew. 1:1-17; Galatians 4:4; Heb. 2:16-17).

Jesus represents our need (John 10: 15-18; 1 John 3:16), and He has the resources (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Christ is our Redeemer, and He does not take advantage of us or let us rot, as we deserve. Thus, in our relationships we can and must be faithful, we should also look to Boaz’s example, who was a righteous man. And, we can look at Ruth’s example, who was a woman of faithfulness and patience.

What does a real husband of faith look like? Ruth and Naomi were attracted to the kindness and integrity of Boaz as he treated them both well. Boaz was attracted to Ruth’s humility and nobility.

Thus, we are to be kind, listen, learn, not take advantage, care, share, and take care of one another! We need to see the importance of nobility and authenticity, as it will pay off much better and greater than the ways of the fast world would. We are to be attracted to goodness and integrity, not looks, power, wealth, or position.

What does a real wife of faith look like? Respectful, patience and looking to God and not to hurts or ones plans. So, if you are not married yet, Ruth shows us how to find a great mate. We look to God, run to Him, and if anyone is running beside us, then that may be the best person God has for us.

Faithfulness means to live out our lives, centered upon Christ’s glory, so our lives ooze Christ-like character and personal growth; striving for greater heights, good works, and personal growth is what is important.

This is the result of our gratitude for being in a special spiritual union with Christ as Savior and Lord. And what makes a marriage succeed and enjoyable. So, our marriage integrity is fueled by what Christ has done for us, as husband and wife become intertwined with distinction for one another. It is not because we earn anything with Christ, but because we are filled with gratitude which translates into compassion and friendship with others, especially with our spouse (Eph 1:3).